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Off on your travels? Here’s what to do if your flight is delayed…

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The best laid plans can often go wrong; no matter how thorough you are in your holiday plans you can still become victim to flight delays.

This can be detrimental for your vacation schedule and booked activities.  Furthermore, flight and airport transfers can be missed and if you are on a business trip crucial meetings and potential deals may be affected.

The losses of a flight delay can certainly add up very quickly!

Interestingly, The Civil Aviation Authority statistics have recently revealed that on average only 74% of flights are on time, therefore one in four of UK flights are delayed.

It is important you know exactly what to when your flight is delayed. This is where Legal Expert come in with their professional tips on what to do if you are faced with a flight delay.

  1. What triggers a flight delay?

A flight can get pushed back or rearranged for so many reasons, These are usually are out of the airline's control such as adverse weather conditions.

You probably remember the flight chaos following the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption where volcanic ash prevented many flights from taking off throughout Europe, this could not have been foreseen by travel companies or travellers alike.

As well as adverse weather conditions other factors that could cause a flight delay can include, security threats, administrative errors such as the baggage belt not working, insufficient fuel for the journey, power cuts, airplane maintenance issues and a ripple effect caused by previous flight delays impacting on the next flights.

  1. How to determine who is liable for the flight delay?

If your flight has been delayed for 3 hours or more and fault is attributed to the airline according to EU regulations you are entitled to compensation for any losses caused.

These are the most common flight delay factors that are classed as the airline’s fault: aircraft maintenance issues, lack of staffing (for example EasyJet's recent employee scandal where they did not have enough pilots to complete all scheduled flights leading to hundreds of flight cancellations) and the cancellation of any underbooked flights, to name just a few.

However if the delay is down to external circumstances outside of the airline’s control they do not have any legal responsibility to compensate you for losses. These can range from: security breaches (such as a terrorist attack), runway closure, political unrest, inclement weather (such as heavy snowfall or storms) and industrial action of airport employees that prevent operations from running.

  1. Are you covered by your insurance for flight delays?

Every travel insurance policy covers different elements to your trip, subsequently before before jetting off you need to re-read your policy to establish what aspects your insurance actually covers.

Often important aspects are hidden in the terms and conditions of a policy which you should not overlook, for instance your policy may not cover for flight delays caused by extenuating circumstances such as adverse weather conditions or a volcanic eruption.

Keep your insurance policy information on you in the airport so you can easily refer to your documents should as issue arise helping you to decipher your next steps.

In addition, it may be beneficial to complete research into your airline’s compensation policies as this may vary between airline providers.

This preparation will be extremely helpful should you find yourself in a situation where your flight is delayed.

  1. Tips on claiming compensation for a flight delay

Unfortunately, airlines are known for doing everything they can to not have to pay out compensation to victims of flight delays.

This explains why many decide to take their compensation claims to legal advisors who have the expertise to ensure clients receive the maximum amount of compensation they are entitled to.

You can go it alone and claim, in this situation you would need to contact the airline’s compensation department and follow their procedures which can be quite a time-consuming process, therefore it is recommended you seek legal advice. You do not want to waste time and effort fighting an airline on your own who have a lot more resources and money available to try and intimidate you with to avoid having to pay out.

If the airline refuses to pay out or your claim is rejected for some reason you may have to take your case to court. If you do reach this step it is very important to involve a legal advisor into the process, this will help make the process run smoothly and reach a conclusion as quickly as possible. In flight delay cases time is of the essence as there is a tight deadline of 6 months to pass a claim to court and once this is passed you can no longer claim.

  1. What to do if your flight delay compensation claim reaches court

Evidence, evidence, evidence!!

You will need to gather as much evidence as possible if your claim reaches court in order to succeed in achieving compensation. Booking confirmations, expenses receipts, airport documentation, boarding passes, hotel information and any communication you have had with the airline all need to be kept together ready to be utilised as evidence if necessary.

This will prove the extent of losses you have incurred as a result of the flight delay and help convince the parties involved you are entitled to compensation to cover such costs.

You may find it helpful to write down exactly what had happened at the airport therefore you can accurately record what has happened with your flight as it happens so it is fresh in your mind to prevent any confusion or missing information. Make sure to record times, locations, your flight number and the reason the airline provided for the delay.

Final word

The procedure of claiming compensation for flight delays can seem quite intimidating and confusing which is where a legal consultation can come in with many lawyers offering No Win No Fee contracts therefore you will not lose out financially.  

A legal advisor will be able to professionally organise all of the evidence you have collected in a way that will give your case the best chance possible of standing up in court and awarding you the compensation you deserve!