A survey recently conducted by Which? Travel has revealed that over the last two years, more than one in five flights scheduled to arrive in the UK experienced delays eligible for compensation under EU regulations. However, only 38% of passengers that qualify are actually claiming.
Consumer organisation Which? collected data from over 7,700 members as well as conducting a separate analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data between August 2013 and August 2014. More than a third of all passengers experienced delays with 21% of those affected held up for three hours or more – a length of time that could mean up to £470 in compensation according to the EU. But passengers, unaware of their rights, are missing out on possible financial reimbursement.
Protection is afforded by the Denied Boarding Regulation and what passengers are entitled to rests upon the length of the delay and the length of the flight. The trigger point for shorter flights starts at a two hour delay and for longer flights at three hours. In these circumstances, as long as passengers have a confirmed booking, checked in on time and are either departing from an EU airport or with an EU based airline, airlines are required to provide refreshments, meals, phone calls or emails and accommodation with transfers if necessary. If a flight is delayed longer than five hours but is not cancelled, passengers also have the right to select a refund rather than continuing with the journey.
Possible financial compensation can be anything from approximately £200-£470. However, eligibility for this compensation depends on the reason behind the delay. If the airline can prove 'extraordinary circumstances' or events beyond the airline's control then no compensation will be awarded. Extraordinary circumstances include political instability, security risk and adverse weather conditions.