James Walker: Make a claim for flight delays while you still can
Here’s how it works. How much you’re entitled to depends on how long the delay was and what distance you are flying. Don’t worry about figuring out what rules apply to you. Check out the Resolver website (https://bit.ly/2vOvKBP) to find out how it works and make a claim for free.
When can you claim?
The flight must be delayed by more than three hours and the delay is counted from the time the flight is meant to arrive. “Arrival” counts as the point at which the cabin crew open the doors… not when the plane touches down).
The flight must take off from the UK or European Union or be from an airline based in these areas. Connected flights count, even if you switch to a non-EU airline halfway through your trip.
The issue must be “within the control of the airline” (so bad weather or air-traffic control disputes are going to leave you without any compensation).
How much can you claim for?
If the flight is less than 1,500km and the flight is more than three hours late, then you can claim €250
If the flight is between 1,500 and 3,000km and the flight is more than three hours late, then you can claim €400
If the flight is more than 3,000km and leaving the EU, or is an EU airline flying into the UK and is between three and four hours late, then you could get back €300. (If it is more than four hours late, you could expect up to €600.)
Here’s some tips to help you if you need to make a claim.
Make sure you know precisely how long your delay is – you could keep a record to send with your claim by taking pictures on your smartphone
Don’t take no for an answer – you can take the case to a dispute resolution scheme. Find out how on the website.
You might be offered compensation, such as miles or vouchers – you don’t have to accept these as you are entitled to any compensation in cash
Is it fair?
Flight delay compensation was introduced after the EU got fed up with the industry not introducing its own compensation scheme. But it is a blunt tool. You could have paid £20 for a flight and get £300 compensation. That clearly is disproportionate, so I have a bit of sympathy for the airlines.
However, some airlines have got very defensive and have made it hard to claim, with online forms and hard-to-contact claims teams all designed to put you off taking things further. There’s no reason why an airline needs your booking and reference number, when it already has this information. Humour them and provide it anyway. And never, ever use a fee charging claims management company – it’s money for nothing!
Some weather-related problems or things like air traffic strikes aren’t covered by the compensation rules. So make sure you have a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy and speak to your insurer about what’s covered.