Airline Delay Compensation – Claiming Compensation From The Airlines

If you are looking to claim compensation from an airline for a flight delay and can’t get an answer from the airline or you’re not sure how to make a claim then we’ve got all the information you will need below.

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How To Recover Compensation For Airline Delays

It is possible to claim up to £520 per passenger in flight compensation from the airlines for flights that arrive more than three hours late thanks to EU regulation 261/2004 and the major cases won by Bott and Co on behalf of millions of consumers in the UK.

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Airlines are obliged to pay passengers financial compensation for long delays of over three hours for the inconvenience the delays cause.

The EU regulation also means airlines must provide care and assistance to passengers regardless of the reason for the delay.

What Are Rules For Claiming Compensation From The Airlines?

Airlines only have one defence for not paying compensation and that is called an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ by the regulation. Many airlines try to deny compensation to passengers by stating the delay was caused by an extraordinary circumstance when we can usually prove this isn’t the case with technical reports and our legal knowledge.

Airlines only have one defence for not paying compensation and that is called an ‘extraordinary circumstance’

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) statistics show more than 220 million passengers per year use UK airports, most arriving or departing but some “in transit” on connecting flights.

There are many elements of running an airline and it is very complex. Aircraft have millions of parts so delays and technical issues must be part and parcel of operating an airline, particularly when airlines run near 100% capacity to maximise profits.

What Are The Most Common Reasons for Airline Delays

There can be many reasons for plane delays because of the complexity of the airlines logistics and the technical element of getting and keeping a plane in the air! We find that almost all delays fit into a few main categories, which we’ll look at below.

  • Crew/Staff Problems
  • Technical Defects
  • Industrial Action
  • Political Unrest
  • Airport-related Delays

Can I Claim For Delays Caused By Crew or Airline Staff Problems?

The most important person on the plane is the pilot. If they are not well enough to operate the aircraft then the airline needs to bring in a replacement pilot – and this can take some time depending on who they have on standby.

The same problem can occur with other members of the flight crew and the plane can’t fly if it doesn’t have enough staff to look after the passengers.

Delays caused by crew sickness or staff going over their working hours should be eligible for compensation.

Just as your company has to make do without you if you call in sick, the airlines also should have contingency plans in place if their pilot or crew get sick and can’t fly.

If the pilot or crew illness delays you by more than three hours on arrival then you should be eligible for flight delay compensation. Sometimes a crew can go over their allotted hours if a plane is delayed too long. All airline crew are only allowed to work a certain number of hours and we’ve seen cases where a delay means the crew will go past this allowance before they arrive at the intended destination.

Delays caused by crew sickness or staff going over their working hours should be eligible for compensation under airline flight delay compensation rules.

Why Choose Bott and Co?

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    A History Of Success

    We have claimed over £78m in flight delay compensation from the airlines.

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    Expert Legal Advice

    Recognised not just within our industry but also by Martin Lewis as “pioneers” in our field.

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    On Your Side

    Completely independent, our only focus is helping you claim for what you are legally entitled to.

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    Fully Regulated

    We are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Your claim is in safe hands.

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Can I Claim For Delays Caused By Technical Defects To The Airplane?

Airlines argued for years that technical defects were ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and they shouldn’t have to pay compensation as a result. We took a case on this point to the Supreme Court in 2014 and won on behalf of millions of consumers.

This means delays caused by technical issues that need repairing before the aircraft is safe to fly again are claimable under the EU regulation on airline delay compensation.

The pilot has the final say on whether they want to take off so it is in his or her interest that you travel on a safe plane – it would be very difficult to find a pilot that is more concerned about arriving on time then arriving at all!

If the technical problem caused knock-on delays then these would become eligible for airline delay compensation under the regulation as the airline should have contingency plans in place to deal with these situations. If the airline has failed to adequately manage its resources in order to eliminate any delay time, then you will be able to claim compensation for your delay.

Can I Claim For Flight Delays Caused by Industrial Action?

When flights are delayed due to industrial action, such as strikes, then airlines may have a valid defence in flight compensation claims.

If the industrial action is a particular airline’s crew going on strike or baggage handlers, then there may be a chance of claiming compensation.

Can I Claim For Airline Delays Caused by Political Unrest?

Civil unrest or political instability in a destination airport causing a flight delay is usually an extraordinary circumstance.

Issues that become so severe that it affects the operation of the local airport wouldn’t usually be eligible for airline compensation claims.

You may be able to claim for subsequent delays caused as a result of the impact of political unrests delays, but we wouldn’t always be able to take these claims on for you.

What Our Clients Say

"I heard about Bott and Co on TV from Martin Lewis money show.

Handed everything over to them and immediately they took over. Their admin was swift and professional and we signed up. Bott and Co kept us informed along the way the claim was settled and again all communication throughout was clear, efficient and timely.

Thank you Bott and Co we could not have done it without you as had tried every other avenue."


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Can I Claim For Airline Delays Caused by Airport Related Issues?

Sometimes there can be issues at the airport that impact on the flight schedules. Some of the common problems include IT failures, check-in systems going down, power-cuts, even floods.

When the problems are isolated to a particular airline such as a check-in system going wrong, then that would be claimable for compensation from the particular airline.

Floods and power cuts would be open to debate in court but might not always be claimable depending on the circumstances.

Can I Claim Compensation If I’m Denied Boarding The Airplane?

In Short, Yes.

Airline compensation was originally established to deal with instances of denied boarding – when you get bumped from your flight. It happens usually because the airlines overbook flights on the basis that some people won’t show up for one reason or another, but there can be other reasons for getting bumped that may not be claimable.

Meet the team
Coby Benson Head Of Flight Compensation Team At Bott and Co

Coby Benson

A member of The Law Society, Coby helped establish the flight delay compensation sector in the UK.

His work has been recognised throughout the industry, winning numerous awards, including The Manchester Law Society Associate of the Year. Coby has been a key speaker on Flight Compensation, appearing on Sky News, BBC Radio and national newspapers as a flight delay expert.

Claiming With Bott and Co

If you want the ultimate in no-fuss, no-hassle, no-win, no-fee treatment then simply input your flight details into our flight delay compensation calculator and we’ll do the rest. You’ll receive regular email updates and payment of your compensation into your nominated bank account.

Claiming By Yourself

We also provide a template letter of claim for you to use if you want to have a go claiming yourself. If you go down this route then you will need to pay the court fees for issuing proceedings when the time comes.

Your flight must be eligible for compensation so it needs to follow the EU 261 rules for flight delays. It must have departed from an EU airport or arrive into an EU airport on an EU airline and be delayed more than three hours on arrival.

Make sure there were no extraordinary circumstances and use our letter to send to the airline to claim your compensation. If you don’t get a response then you may need to issue court proceedings. If the airline say the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances then send us your flight details and we’ll give you our expert opinion.

Don’t forget, claiming with us eliminates all the stress and hassle and increases your chances of success with no court or legal cash to pay.

Looking Out For Your Best Interests

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    Our No Win No Fee promise means you are at no financial risk if you decide to make a claim

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    Get Your Compensation Quicker

    Many of our flight compensation claims are settled in 30 days

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Our Flight Delay Compensation Services At A Glance

Services Bott and Co You
Claim assessed for legal validity under EC Regulation 261/2004
Actual flight times provided
Claim letter to submit to airline
Meteorological conditions checked
Free advice by telephone and internet
Claim cross referenced against database of previous successful claims
Formal legal letter sent to airline
Drafting of court proceedings included
 Representation at court included
 No need for client to attend court
 Court fees paid on your behalf (Average £150)
Fee paid for an expert report to combat ‘technical defect’ arguments (Up to £750)
Fee paid for an expert report to combat ‘weather’ arguments
No financial risk – no win, no fee

*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.