Can I claim compensation for a cancelled flight? Heathrow, Bristol and more affected as easyJet & BA disrupted

Your rights explained - including if you can claim compensation - as multiple flights remain disrupted this week

Thousands of people face further disruption as multiple flights are cancelled today (August 30) from some of the UK’s biggest airports. On Tuesday (August 30), hundreds of flights were cancelled as the fall-out from the air traffic control glitch continues.

And that fall-out is rolling on another day. Whilst the disruption isn’t as widespread as Tuesday, multiple flights from airports including Heathrow, Bristol and more have been cancelled.

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With flights cancelled, people will no doubt be looking if they’re entitled to compensation. Firstly, If your flight is cancelled and your airline is UK- or EU-based, it must offer you a replacement at the earliest opportunity, or a refund.

If your outbound flight is cancelled you can get the full cost of the return ticket refunded. If you are flying into the UK with a non-UK and non-EU carrier such as New York to Glasgow with American Airlines, look at the terms and conditions.

Which? travel editor Rory Boland says: “Airlines are legally required to transport you to your destination as soon as possible. That means on other airlines or other routes, if necessary.”

Also, if you are stuck overnight, it is the airline’s responsibility to provide passengers with accommodation. Some airlines will book people into hotels, but some people find that during major incidents there’s no one on hand to help.

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If this is the case and you end up booking yourself into a hotel, you can claim the costs back later. If you do this, remember to keep every receipt of every transaction but spend within reason, as Airlines are unlikely to refund you for luxury hotel stays or alcohol.

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If you have put together your own travel plans, such as booking flights and accommodation, you may not be able to claim the cost of the hotel. It’s worth contacting your travel insurer to find out what cover is available under your policy.

Now, the big one, can you claim compensation? Compensation always depends on what it is that has caused your flight to be cancelled. Generally, if it is not the airline’s fault you won’t be entitled to any compensation.

Any flights that are cancelled or delayed by “extraordinary circumstances” are not eligible for compensation. Boland says that what has recently occurred will be “classed as extraordinary circumstances, which means no compensation is due”.

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