3rd July 2013

More and more of us are organising our own holidays abroad rather than taking a traditional package holiday.

This has been made far easier since the advent of the Internet. Organising your own trips however generally means you have less financial protection than booking with a UK tour operator. As a result of an EU Court decision in October 2012 if you booked your flight yourself and suffered a significant delay it is now much easier to obtain compensation from the airline.

There are various conditions to be met before the airline has to pay you compensation for a delayed flight however if you are travelling abroad this summer and book the flight yourself and if you suffer delay you should consider a complaint to the airline.

If the delay is more than two hours then regardless of the cause of the delay the airline should provide you with food, drinks, communications and accommodation if you are delayed overnight.

If you are delayed for three hours or more in addition to the above, and subject to the conditions below, you can claim compensation of between €250 and €600. The amount of compensation depends on the distance covered by the flight and the length of the delay.

If you are delayed for five hours or more then as well as the costs of food, accommodation and other extras, you qualify for a refund of the ticket cost no matter whose fault the problem was if you decide not to travel.

The conditions to be met to obtain compensation are: –

  1. The flight arrived at its destination three hours or more late.
  2. The flight departed from an EU airport, regardless of the airline, OR you were on an EU airline and landed at an EU airport.
  3. The delay was the airline's fault e.g. adverse weather conditions would not be the airline's fault.

There are various consumer websites which give very helpful guidance on the above e.g. The Money Saving Expert. Hopefully this is not an area in which claims companies will spring up. We have heard of many people who have simply written to the airline concerned requesting compensation for their delayed flight and received payment within a few weeks thereafter. This is something most people should be able to pursue themselves.

Hopefully none of the above will be necessary, your flight will not be delayed and all our clients who are travelling this year will have a great holiday. Bon voyage.