In April 2022, travel had resumed, and holidaymakers were getting ready to set off on Easter breaks. However, staff shortages meant that countless flights were cancelled, and many passengers missed their departure times as a result of long airport queues.
Unfortunately, this travel chaos has continued well into Spring 2022, with airlines such as British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair making numerous cancellations. It has transpired that staff shortages are mainly because airlines have not rehired enough staff since lockdowns eased. The disruption is set to continue throughout summer.
Bott and Co solicitor Coby Benson has been giving travel advice to news publications including Money Saving Expert, The Guardian, and The Sun.
Travellers who’ve recently had, or will face, cancellations may be entitled to claim up to £520 per person in compensation on top of refunds or a new flight.
We believe staff sickness, including Covid related sickness, and strikes by the airline crew are NOT extraordinary circumstances and therefore shouldn’t be reasons for airlines to avoid paying compensation.
What you’re owed by the airline if your flight has been cancelled in the last few weeks
Since Brexit, EU regulation 261/2004 compensation rules have been written into UK law, therefore passengers have the same rights to claim flight compensation as they did pre-Brexit.
If your flight was cancelled within two weeks before its departure date, you are entitled to a full refund of the fare you paid, plus compensation for the inconvenience caused.
If your flight was short-haul – less than 1,500km – you are entitled to compensation of £220 per passenger. For middle-distance flights of 1,500 to 3,500km the figure rises to £350 and for a long-haul destination more than 3,500 km away it is £520.
Compensation Amounts For Flight Delay Claims
|Flight Distance||Length Of Delay||Compensation Amount|
|Up to 1,500km||3 hours or more||£220|
|1,500km-3,500km||3 hours or more||£350|
|Over 3,500km||3-4 hours||£260|
|Over 3,500km||More than 4 hours||£520|
Prefer to be rerouted or get an alternative flight?
If your flight is cancelled within two weeks of departure, regardless of the reason, you have the right to ask to be rerouted on an alternative flight, either with the same airline or another one. In some cases, the airline will offer this, while others might not make It known that this is an option.
If in the instance of a last-minute cancellation you’re left with no choice but to buy a new flight with another airline to the one you originally booked with, you can claim the cost of the replacement flight from the original airline.
If your initial flight was more expensive, however, you’d be better off requesting a full refund.
Often airlines will refuse these requests, but you are entitled to the money under written law.
If you are rerouted by your original airline and the replacement flight arrives more than two hours late, you are also entitled to £220 compensation per passenger for flights of up to 1,500km.
How to claim compensation for cancelled flights
Passengers can contact their airline for a refund, and also requesting compensation, however we’ve seen many cases where airlines refuse to pay out, often citing extraordinary circumstances which can seem very convincing to passengers.
Bott and Co work on a no-win-no-fee basis to claim your compensation. We believe passengers are entitled to compensation for these cancellations. Our flight compensation calculator can give you a free, instant decision on your flight.
Missed your flight after being stuck in long airport queues?
Unfortunately, for those who’ve missed their flight after being stuck in long airport queues, It’s unlikely that you’re due any redress.
As unfair as it may be, especially if you arrived at the airport in plenty of time, we’re not aware of any possible legal basis that would allow passengers to pursue the airport operator for their losses.
Claiming a refund under Section 75
The law is clear in what airlines have to pay their customers in these circumstances, therefore people shouldn’t need Section75 to come to their rescue.
However, section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 provides a purchaser with the right to claim a refund or damages from their credit card provider, rather than the supplier that actually provided the goods or services.
The protection gives you the right to claim damages from the credit card company when there has been a breach of contract or misrepresentation by the supplier.
This law applies to purchases between £100 and £30,000 that have been made by credit card. Read more here.
The case law behind why compensation is due
The cases of Litpon v BA City Flyer (Court of Appeal) or Krüsemann and others v TUIfly GmbH (Court of Justice of the European Union) can back up these claims that passengers are entitled to a full refund and compensation.
In the Litpon case, it was ruled that “staff illness, and the need to accommodate such illness on a daily basis, is a commonplace for any business. It is a mundane fact of commercial life: it is in no way out of the ordinary”.
Meanwhile, the Krüsemann judgement ruled that wildcat strikes – those not officially organised by a trade union – are also subject to compensation: “The spontaneous absence of a significant part of the flight crew staff (‘wildcat strikes’)… which stems from the surprise announcement by an operating air carrier of a restructuring… following a call echoed not by the staff representatives of the company but spontaneously by the workers themselves who placed themselves on sick leave, is not covered by the concept of ‘extraordinary circumstances’.”
Industrial action by air traffic controllers, airport staff and ground handlers is, however, likely to be considered extraordinary, meaning compensation would not be due.