Friday 22 September 2017

Finance Fridays – Flight cancellations and delays

For last week's Finance Fridays we were looking at how much a garden is affecting your house's value. This week we are hoping our flights will be on time. One of the most talked about news items of the past week is the announcement by Ryanair to cancel a number of its flights over the next six weeks. Flying can be stressful enough but this can be compounded if you find yourself stuck at the airport waiting for your flight or find that it was been cancelled altogether. In many circumstances you could be entitled to compensation. Let's see when and what you could claim.

Am I entitled to claim for compensation?

Like it or not but if you are entitled to compensation is down to whether your flight departed from an EU airport or if an EU airline lands at an EU airport. For these purposes the EU also includes airports which are situated in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. So if your flight from Sydney to Heathrow through British Airways is cancelled you may be entitled to compensation but if you are flying with Etihad Airways you won't be.

If your flight is cancelled or delayed and you think you are entitled to compensation then it is best to apply for compensation as soon as possible. In theory in England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can wait for six years (five in Scotland) but you could up with a lengthy legal battle if you wait a long time.

The fault of the compensation has to be of the airline's own doing. Therefore in the current case of Ryanair where they have cancelled flights because they haven't got enough staff then you could be entitled to compensation. However, if there are circumstances outside of the airline's control you won't be entitled to compensation. Examples of this are industrial action which mean the airline can't take off or land, or weather conditions such as the hurricanes in the Caribbean.

How much am I entitled to?

The amount of compensation you could be entitled to is calculated by the length of the delay and how far your flight was due to fly. As this is based on EU laws the amount is fixed in euros which will fluctuate when it is converted into sterling. It is not dependant on how much you paid for your ticket. Arrival is classed as the time the aeroplane opens its doors. This means that a plane can't sit on the Tarmac and say it is arrived if it isn't ready to let the passengers off. Also note this is calculated by the time your arrival is due rather than how long you were delayed in getting on the aeroplane. Sometimes planes can catch up time whilst in the air.

Delay to your arrival    
Flight distance
3 hours or more
Less than 1,500km
Between 1,500km and 3,500km
More than 1,500km and within the EU
3-4 hours

More than 3,500km between an EU and non-EU airport
4 hours or more

More than 3,500km between an EU and non-EU airport

If the flight is delayed for more than five hours you don't have to take the flight and you would be entitled to a refund of your ticket plus any ticket you made in the same booking for a return flight. Alternatively you can ask to be put on an alternative flight.

If your flight is cancelled before you even reached the airport you need to see what offer of alternative flights the airline will offer you. However as your flight is likely to depart and arrive some time after you had originally expected to when you booked your ticket you will still be entitled to compensation if you are delayed.

Have you ever had flights delayed or cancelled? Did you claim compensation?

If you want to join in with this week's Finance Fridays then add your link to the linky below. Any post concerning financial matters is allowed. Full details here. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Tuesday 26th September 2017 to join in.

Finance Fridays

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