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Travel disruptions

Flight cancellations and delays

If your flight is cancelled or delayed you may be entitled to compensation from the airline (under European Union (EU) regulations) and/or from your travel insurance provider.

The compensation you are entitled to from the airline will depend on a number of things including:

  • the airline you are flying with
  • your destination
  • how long your flight is delayed for
  • how long before the scheduled departure date your flight is cancelled.

Most travel insurance will include some compensation for cost incurred while you're waiting for a delayed departure at an airport, port, train or bus station. There is usually a minimum qualifying period, (the delay must be of a certain length) before your insurer will pay compensation – this will vary from policy to policy.

The reasons for delayed departure that are covered vary between insurers, but most policies will cover delay due to:

  • adverse weather conditions
  • strikes or industrial action - if the date of which was not known when you booked your trip
  • mechanical breakdown of transport
  • natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions.

You must ask your carrier (for example, the airline, ferry company or rail operator) to confirm the reason for and length of the delay in writing if you want to claim compensation for delayed departure from your insurer.

The compensation you are entitled to from your travel insurance provider will depend on the type of policy you hold. Speak to your insurer to find out what your policy covers.

For more information on your entitlements see:

Missed Departure

If you miss your departure as a result of the following reasons, you may be entitled to claim compensation from your travel insurance provider.

  • delay or cancellation of a planned service
  • strike, industrial action or adverse weather conditions
  • breakdowns to your vehicle
  • accidents that immobilise the vehicle.

Your insurance may cover the cost of a replacement ticket and any expenses incurred in reaching your destination.

Airline / travel agent failure

If the airline, travel agent or tour operator you have booked with goes out of business either before you depart or while you are abroad, you may be entitled to compensation.

Chartered flights

Chartered flights are organised by travel agents and tour operators as part of package holidays. Compensation for chartered flights booked through travel agents or tour operators that go out of business is covered by the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL).

For information on making a claim visit the ATOL website.

Scheduled flights

Scheduled flights are flights you book independently, directly with the airline – not through a travel agent or tour operator.

If the airline you booked your scheduled flights with goes out of business, you may not be able to get your money back from the airline.

Some travel insurance policies do not offer scheduled airline failure cover as a standard feature. You can ask your insurer about adding specialised scheduled airline failure cover to your policy.

Baggage delay

If your baggage is mislaid or sent to the wrong destination, your travel insurance should cover the cost of essential items (up to a certain amount) until your luggage is returned to you. Your insurance will not cover the cost of non-emergency items.

You must keep receipts for any emergency items you buy and ask the airline for a report explaining why your baggage was delayed.