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Michael Brown

Acting Editor
Published: 07/07/2022
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What are your options if your flight is delayed or cancelled?

Four in 10 travel insurance policies do not offer protection for those whose holidays are disrupted due to strike action, according to research by Which?.    

“We advise travellers to always check policies carefully to ensure they offer the cover that will be most appropriate to their trip, and to ensure they have cover in place from the time of booking,” said Jenny Ross, Money Editor at Which?.   

However, research from the consumer comparison site also found that 93% of policies did provide cover for your expenses, such as refreshments and accommodation, if your flight was delayed.

While this seems like a large proportion of companies, many policies limit these payouts to certain causes of delay.

What are my options if my flight is cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled, even in the event of ongoing strikes, then you have a legal right to a full refund or a replacement flight to get you to your destination. This means if you are part-way through your journey, such as waiting at a connecting airport, then you have the right to request a flight back to your original airport of departure.

This is according to Citizens Advice, which goes on to say your chosen airline could help with costs or compensation under certain circumstances if your cancelled flight delays your trip.

Compensation is dependent on whether you were delayed by more than two hours and you were given less than two weeks’ notice.

The amount of compensation you will receive ranges between £110 and £520, with your final figure determined by three factors. These include when the flight was delayed, the distance of your flight, and the departure or arrival times of your replacement flight.

Meanwhile, airlines footing the bill for extra costs, such as accommodation or refreshments, depends if your delay exceeded two hours. In this situation, most airlines will provide you with vouchers for food, drink and arrange transportation to their chosen hotel.

If this does not happen, you can organise this yourself, but the UK Civil Aviation Authority recommends passengers keep these costs to a “reasonable” limit.

Your airline will likely provide you with guidance on what is “reasonable”, with many companies unlikely to reimburse your expenditure on luxury accommodation or alcohol. The UK Civil Aviation Authority also always recommends that you keep receipts of your expenditure to claim this back.

Of course, those who booked their holiday through a travel company will not need to contact their airline. This can all be handled through your travel company directly, who should also manage other expenses such as cancelled accommodation or sightseeing tours.

How to find the best travel insurance

Those looking for comprehensive travel cover during their holiday can find the best travel insurance policies on our website.

On this page we grade a variety of providers on their cover, with the best insurance policies receiving a Five Star rating. Each policy’s final score is based on different information, which includes age limits, travel delay cover, excesses and baggage cover among other options.


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