Problems with Airport Delays

We booked a holiday abroad some time ago, but after hearing about all the problems at airports, I’m really worried. What do we do if our flight is cancelled or delayed?

The Citizens Advice website has lots of information about what to do when your flight
is delayed or cancelled.

If you’re already at the airport when they announce the delay, the airline should give
you food and drink, and access to phone calls and emails. You should also get
accommodation if you’re delayed overnight (including journeys to and from the

Your airline might offer you vouchers to pay for these or advise you to keep receipts
to claim back expenses later. They will only refund ‘reasonable’ expenses, not
expensive meals or luxury hotels.

What counts as a long enough delay to get this help depends on how long your flight
is. A short flight only needs to be delayed two hours, whereas a flight of more than
3,500km needs to be more than four hours.

It’s worth knowing that if your flight is delayed for more than five hours, you don’t
have to take it. The airline legally has to give you a full refund for that flight (and any
onward flights and return flights if you’re part-way through a connecting journey).

Talk to someone from the airline as soon as you decide you don’t want to fly.

If your flight is cancelled altogether, you have a legal right to either a full refund or a
replacement flight to get you to your destination. The refund includes any onward
flights and money for a return flight if you’re part-way through a connecting journey.
Ask about this at the airport if you can.

Don’t just rebook another flight yourself – check with the airline first because it’s their
responsibility to sort out your replacement. If you do have to rebook it yourself, keep
any receipts and evidence of why the airline couldn’t do this for you, for example
screenshots of live chats. If the cancellation ends up delaying you getting to your
holiday by two or more hours, you’re entitled to help with costs.

Check if you’re entitled to compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight. Again, this
will depend on how long the delay was, the distance, and whether it’s the airline’s
fault. The Citizens Advice website has details on claiming compensation for delays
or cancellations from the airline. You might also be able to claim from your travel
insurance – check if your policy covers this.

If you have a problem with an airline and you’re not sure what to do, call the Citizens
Advice consumer helpline 0808 223 1133 or talk to an adviser online through the
Citizens Advice website.

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens
Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing,
employment or any other problems. South Lakes Citizens Advice, your local
charity, is here for you. How to access:
 Call 015394 46464 – this is being staffed from 9:30 – 2pm
 Adviceline: 0808 2787 984
 email advice via our submission page on our website
 Help to Claim (Universal Support): 0800 144 8 444