Delayed or Cancelled Flights? Know your Rights!

Delayed or Cancelled Flight – know your rights!

It’s everyone’s nightmare.  You are at the airport waiting excitedly to board the plane, but suddenly the departure board shows that your flight is delayed or cancelled.  In these circumstances airlines may not be forthcoming about your rights – so it really pays to know what they are.

The flight delay regulations only apply if your flight departed from the UK, European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland or you booked with a European airline – they are part of EU Law so it’s likely they’ll stop or change when the UK leaves the union.

If your flight’s delayed for 2 or more hours your airline should give you vouchers for food and drink, provide access to phone calls and emails and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight.  If you are not offered help at the airport, keep receipts for ‘reasonable’ expenses – you won’t get money back for alcohol, expensive meals or luxury hotels.

If your flight’s delayed for 3 or more hours you’re also entitled to compensation if the delay is the airline’s responsibility.  For more information go to or

If the delay is over 5 hours you don’t have to take the flight; it doesn’t matter whose responsibility it is.  Legally the airline must give you a full refund and if you are part way through the journey, a flight back to your departure airport. If you do take the flight you can claim compensation for the delay.

If your flight is cancelled at the airport you have the legal right to a full refund and a replacement flight to your destination. You also have a legal right to help with costs if the cancellation delays you by 2 hours or more and compensation if you’d be delayed 2 or more hours by the replacement flight offered.

Before putting in any compensation claim, consider that while you have a legal right to do so, an influx of claims could mean airlines making large pay outs, and this may have a knock on effect on the price of flights in the future.