Travel Blog

Bad Weather Delays - What Are Your Rights?

Despite the fact that we expect a certain degree of miserable weather here in the UK, this winter seems to have lasted longer than most. While the temptation is strong to simply hibernate until spring shows its face, some of us simply can’t last too long without a holiday of some kind. But as the Met Office issues a warning that winter may hold Britain in its icy grip for at least another month, snow and winter storms may cause bad weather delays to disrupt your journey. Are you aware of your rights?

Rail travel

When bad weather strikes, the trains in England very often suffer. However, passengers do have the right to claim compensation, thought the criteria varies depending on operator and the length of the delay.

If a firm is signed up to the Delay Repay scheme, you can expect to be able to reclaim around 25% to 100% of the cost of a return ticket. Contact your rail network provider to find out if you are eligible.

If you are travelling by Eurostar, bad weather delay compensation can be claimed online after 24 hours. Passengers can claim anything from 25% of the cost of a single ticket for delays of 60-119 minutes, all the way up to 75% of the cost of a single ticket for delays of three hours or more.


Under EU law, passengers flying with a European airline or departing from a country in the EU, UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland have the right to compensation for bad weather delays. However, what you are entitled to depends on the length of the delay.

For delays of two hours or more, the airline will be expected to provide you with food and drink (usually in the form of vouchers to purchase refreshments from the airport) as well as access to emails and phone calls. If you’re delayed overnight, the airline will also have to provide accommodation – don’t expect the Ritz, but then again we can but dream.

If the worst occurs and a flight is cancelled, or delayed by at least five hours, you’ll be entitled to the offer of an alternative flight or a full refund.

In terms of financial compensation, this is only dished out if the delay is at the fault of the airline, not due to bad weather that could make flying dangerous. However, travel insurance may cover you for this eventuality – just check your policy to see what’s included.


Last but not least, those planning to set sail and travel by ferry should be aware that bad weather delays of more than 1.5 hours entitle passengers to alternative sailing at the next available opportunity or a refund within a week.

As with flights, however, ferry operators do not have to offer financial compensation – another argument to get that travel insurance policy locked down once you’ve booked.

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