Flybe cancelled dozens of flights today (Wednesday) including flights from Leeds Bradford airport.
Among those not running is this morning's incoming flight to Leeds Bradford from Belfast City, which was due to land at 11.35am, and the return service which departs at 12pm.
Fiona Macrae, from the consumer awareness campaign, travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk gives advice on what you can expect from your travel insurance if you have been affected by the cancellations.
What should you do if your flight is cancelled?
The first thing you should do is contact Flybe who have promised to refund passengers.
However under European Legislation there is also a ‘re-route’ option which means that if your original airline cannot get you to your destination on your booked date, or the day after then you can demand to be booked with a rival airline (subject to seat availability) – your original airline is legally responsible for booking replacement flights and should bear the cost accordingly.
If the airline advises you to make your own arrangements then provided you can prove that you have taken the only available alternative, you should be able to reclaim the costs from the original airline.
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What can you do if you have incurred additional costs due to the flight cancellation?
Unfortunately, travel insurance policies do not cover the cost of a replacement flight; you should, therefore, make use of the ‘re-route’ option mentioned above.
Similarly, any additional costs to enable you to continue your holiday would not be covered; for example, if you had pre-paid your airport parking but now have to travel from a different airport, or if your flight arrangements mean that you now have to stay in a hotel overnight before catching your new flight.
What if I want to cancel my holiday?
If you are unable to make alternative travel arrangements, you may wish to cancel your holiday altogether. However, you should be aware that most travel insurance policies only cover cancellation due to ‘specified reasons’ and the cancellation of flights by an airline is not usually a specified reason.
However, if you have a travel insurance policy which offers cancellation cover for ‘any cause beyond your control’ or anything ‘which you could not have been expected to foresee or avoid’ you may be able to cancel your holiday and claim back any pre-paid expenses, such as excursions, car hire costs or accommodation fees that you cannot get back from anywhere else.
Although not much help in this situation, as it is now a ‘known event’, it’s something to look out for the next time you are buying travel insurance.
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What if I don’t want to cancel my holiday, but just arrive a day or so late, would I be able to claim for the lost days I’ve paid for accommodation and car hire etc?
Unfortunately, the answer is no in most cases.
You may be able to contact the accommodation or car hire provider and explain the situation to them, and they might agree to amend their charges – most hotels and car rental companies allow you to reserve the accommodation or vehicle, and then you pay for the time actually used when you check out or collect the vehicle.
If you booked via an online booking company, they may be able to provide help and assistance as well.
A few travel insurance policies will offer cover for ‘delayed arrival at your destination’ so check and see if your policy offers this cover
What if I’m stuck abroad due to the flight cancellations?
Passengers whose flights are cancelled while on holiday are entitled to hotels and meals until the airline can get them home, but there could be other expenses to be paid because of your delay, such as parking fees, kennel costs etc., and these costs are not, generally, covered by travel insurance.
However, if your policy has a section called ‘if you are delayed returning to your home country’ you may be able to claim for these additional costs, so it is worth checking if your policy offers this cover.