Flight Delay Claims

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Top Tips for Handling Flight Delays and Cancellations

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Mar 14, 2024
5 minutes read
  • Keep your cool and remain calm
  • Catch up on me time when experiencing flight delays
  • Don’t forget to claim compensation afterwards

Not all trips will be hassle-free, and it’s not unusual to experience flight delays and cancellations. Even though you have various rights as an air passenger, there are multiple ways you can help your situation, and get ahead of the curve.

This article will give you various tips for tackling flight delays and disruptions. From making sure you’re aware of your protections to simply opting for travel insurance, you can make the experience much less stressful. Find out all you can do, and limit the disruption to your day.

Ready to start your claim for a delayed flight? Use our eligibility checker to find your flight. It only takes a minute.

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How Claims for Flight Disruption Work

You’re able to make a claim for a delayed or cancelled flight if it arrives at your destination at least three hours later than scheduled. The clock stops when the aeroplane has landed and at least one of its passenger doors has opened.

Compensation for flight delays is calculated based on the distance travelled and the accompanying delay. Shorter trips are worth a smaller amount than long-haul flights, and the maximum you can receive is £520.

With cancellations, you can receive money if you take an alternative flight and it also suffers a delay. At any point, it’s flight delays that are the fault of the airline that qualify.

Keep Informed

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Our first tip is to keep up-to-date about what’s going on. It can be useful to sign up to notifications from the airline and to make use of tracking apps. Similarly, following them on social media can also be helpful for real-time updates. Any sort of disruption (especially flight delays) are relayed instantly through apps like Twitter (X).

When you experience flight delays, you can use the advice from above to help you understand what’s going on. If you’re at the airport at an extremely busy time, avoid talking to members of staff as hundreds of other passengers will be queueing to ask the same questions. It can be quicker to simply call the airline or message them on social media instead.

By keeping informed about the situation, this can help you mitigate the impact of flight delays. It can give you time to plan an alternative, should the flight get cancelled or you need to get to your destination on time.

Arrive Early

We all understand how important it is to get to the airport way before your flight is due to take off. However, being there early can have additional benefits. Flight delays can happen at any time, and if you’ve been informed beforehand, you can speak to check-in staff to find an alternative.

Being at the airport early enough can help beat the rush of fellow passengers in the same situation. It can give you a better chance of getting a suitable replacement flight.

Know Your Rights

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After a certain amount of time, UK and EU based airlines have to look after you when you’re suffering from flight delays. This can include giving you food and drink and a means of communication. If an overnight stay is required, the airline will book you accommodation and transport to and from the airport.

You can claim flight delay perks after the following times:

  • After waiting 2 hours for a flight up to 1,500km

  • After waiting 3 hours for a flight 1,500 to 3,500km

  • After waiting 4 hours for a flight over 3,500km

You should always be familiar with an airline’s conditions of carriage, and make sure they’re followed.

Track Timings

It’s important you track how long your delays are. This gives you security in exerting your rights, and can help when it comes to making claims for flight delays later on. Noting down the time of the initial announcement and your original scheduled arrival time is key. This can help determine how long the disruption is when you get to your destination.

Keep Your Options Open

It could work in your favour to look at various rebooking options. You can contact the airline and ask about alternative flights or see if there are any partner airlines that can offer flexibility with a rebooking.

Alternatively, flight delays can be countered with online platforms or self-service machines. These give you the power to immediately and efficiently find alternatives. If you’re a seasoned flyer, you may already know about different routes to your destination. Being more fluid about your journey could help avert disruption.

Pack Essentials in Hand Luggage

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A carry-on can contain many useful items usable during flight delays. If disrupted, you can then make use of toiletries, medication and possibly a change of clothes. When an overnight stay is necessary, you will be much more prepared and less inconvenienced.

Similarly, families should have to hand any items that can keep children occupied. This can stop flight delays from becoming an unimaginably long stretch of time. All it takes is a little forward thinking to be prepared for the unexpected.

Buy Travel Insurance

There are premium policies on the market that can give you added protection when experiencing flight delays. This can include a refund if you or the airline cancelled the flight. If you’ve looked at alternative options, this can come in useful.

Travel insurance can be useful in extreme scenarios as well. There are some levels of cover that can give you a full refund for cancellations if your flight was delayed for over 24 hours or if an alternative flight wasn’t found for you within 24 hours.

Keep Your Cool

In all likelihood, flight delays are beyond your control. This means that there’s nothing that you could have done to have prevented it, so keeping your nerve and staying composed should be a top priority.

You should keep any anger bottled, or try to eliminate the frustration, as it can inadvertently come out when speaking to other passengers or airline staff. Simply getting angry at others won’t resolve the situation. No matter how loud you shout, flight delays won’t magically resolve themselves.

Although it can sometimes be a challenge, keeping patient can help with the ordeal. This can give you time to catch up on various activities, like reading or working. Patience can also help with seeking alternative solutions to your problem. If you need to rebook or change your flight, it’s much easier with a calm head.

Apply for Compensation

With significant delays, you can take comfort in the knowledge that you can receive compensation for the stress and inconvenience. Flight delays are calculated based on the distance travelled and how late the plane lands compared to its original scheduled time.

You can see the different amounts you’re entitled to in the interactive graph below.

Fortunately, you can apply for delayed flight compensation for any disruption within the last 6 years. This means you’ve got plenty of time in case you forget on your way back home. It also opens up the door for multiple claims.

Use the Airport

If you have no choice but to wait, then it could be useful to see what facilities the airport offers you. If you feel like spending money, you can kill some time by looking around the shops. Do some retail therapy or have a meal.

In some instances, passengers suffering from flight delays may be allowed to use an airline’s lounge. This is a good opportunity to have more space to relax, as well as giving you access to free food and drink.

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Relax

If you have no worries or anything to distract you (like young children), flight delays can present the perfect opportunity to have some me time. This can be used for a nap, to read a book or to catch up on TV shows. Keeping yourself occupied can help pass the time and reduce the amount of stress and worry.

Most airports offer free Wi-Fi, even if it’s only for a short period. When suffering from a temporary setback, you can easily make use of it to ease the wait. This can also help keep in contact with anyone you need to, which is useful for anyone that might need to pick you up from the airport.

Check Your Eligibility for Compensation

After getting home, you should exercise your rights as an air passenger for suffering flight delays. Both outbound and inbound trips qualify, so you can potentially have two claims on your hands for a single holiday.

It’s easy to start your claim. If you’ve been keeping track of timings, you can quickly see if you qualify. The only other thing to do is find out how much distance the flight covered. This is only because longer trips receive the most amount of compensation, but all flight delays will receive something over three hours.

Ready to start your flight delay claim? Use the button below to find your flight. You can check your eligibility at the same time.

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