What To Do If Your Flight Is Delayed

stressed man

Suffering the misfortune of a delayed flight can have huge consequences. The delay can lead to you missing vital events, whether for work or pleasure. The delay can impact on business, holiday, or a family reunion.

At best, a flight delay is inconvenient, at worst it is close to disastrous.

What, though, should you do? 

At Flight Reclaim, we are experts in what to do when things go wrong at the airport and when looking to fly. Let’s have a look at what to do and how to get compensation for a delayed flight.

Flight Delays – The Immediate and the long-term

A first step we recommend is to mentally divide the things that need sorting right now and the tasks that are not urgent. 

The non urgent tasks can therefore be parked, they do not need to add to your stress for now.

The immediate is getting where you need to go and, if the delay is significant, ensuring you have access to food, drink and potentially even overnight accommodation.

Longer term, there is likely to be the question of compensation.

We will come on to this later in the post, but it is not something to be tackled in the immediate aftermath of a flight being delayed. In fact, looking for compensation while at the airport could see you receiving a sum that is far less than would otherwise be the case. We’ll explain why in this post.

Getting to your destination

Unlike a cancelled flight, or finding yourself bumped from an overbooked flight, a delay can be never ending uncertainty. 

That is not to say, of course, that a cancellation is better than a delay, only that delays are hard to calculate. They have a tendency to drag on, especially as once departure spots are missed at busy airports there can then be a lengthy wait for another one, even if the aircraft is now otherwise able to depart.

In most cases, a delay will simply lead to the plane arriving late and hopefully this will not cause undue distress. 

However, things can be complicated if it has the potential to impact upon a connecting flight. 

In this case, a first step is to speak to the information desk. If the ticket was bought as a single ticket that happens to involve a change, they will move you on to the next available flight. 

If the tickets are separate, whether through one carrier or separate then you could be left in limbo for the second flight. As an example, if the first flight is with Ryanair and delayed, causing you to miss a BA flight, neither airline is likely to offer support in terms of getting to your ultimate destination.

If the tickets are through separate operators and the delay is likely to lead to you missing the second flight then the first course of action should be to speak to the flight operators. 

It is worth remembering that they are not duty bound to help in any way, so being polite and grateful for their time in listening to your problems can be beneficial. The person at the information desk, or at least their manager, might have power to make concessions, getting rebooked at a discount is at their discretion.

If the first operator, the one suffering the delay, has flights to your ultimate destination you can also seek their help; can they rebook you in a way that gets you to the ultimate destination?

In truth, there is no easy solution, no magic approach that will see you arriving at your ultimate destination and this is why we would always recommend booking any trip as a single journey, or a ticket that is booked as single entity, albeit with changes.

The exceptions to this would be when the risk is worth the reward, i.e. the savings by booking completely separate tickets are such that it is worth the risk of having to change plans should that connecting flight be missed.

For any delay of two hours or more from an EU airport, an entitlement to refreshments will kick in, this usually in the form of vouchers to be used at the airport. All airlines are well used to this procedure and so a simple request should see the vouchers forthcoming.

If the delay drags into overnight, accommodation and transport to and from this accommodation would become necessary. The airline should provide this however, in busy times, might struggle to. In this case, the CAA recommends booking the accommodation yourself and then looking to claim back the expense.

Flight Delays – Thinking About Compensation

We recommend parking thoughts of compensation until a later date – you have six years to make a claim, though maybe don’t leave it that long!

If you try to seek compensation at the airport it will take focus away from the main issue of simply getting to your destination. It is also likely that you will simply be handed a generic form.

If the airline does offer you compensation at this stage it is likely to be a fraction of what you might otherwise receive. Current compensation levels mean that the figures can be 600 euros per passenger, this for long haul flights with a delay of four hours or more. Even for short haul flights with less burdensome delays, the figure is hundreds of euros per person.

The airline, however, might simply offer some vouchers or free air miles. If you accept this, that is your right to further compensation gone, the matter is seen as closed.

We would recommend filing a compensation claim later, potentially through us at Flight Reclaim.

Why use a third party?

The reason to choose our services at Flight Reclaim is because we actually get compensation. We know how to deal with the airlines and their red tape and blocking tactics. This leads to a 98% success rate and more than £200m claimed in total, all this on a no-win, no-fee basis (and our fees are among the lowest in the industry).

By using Flight Reclaim, you simply tell us the flight details and then, in most cases, wait for the compensation to arrive.

Next steps

If you have suffered from a flight that has been delayed and would like to see if you are eligible for compensation, please simply fill in a few simple details – this is on an obligation-free basis.

You can also get more information on this site about whether your flight is likely to qualify for compensation and also compensation available for other disruptions – for example if you are ever bumped from an over-booked flight.

If you would like to speak to an adviser in person, please call us on 0161 883 2662

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