What are your Rights When Flying?
Whether traveling to the next holiday destination or away on strictly business, there are numerous different factors to consider when flying both abroad and within the UK in order to better prepare yourself for if things go wrong. Unfortunately, issues such as delays and cancellations to your flight travels are not necessarily a rarity.
Therefore, it’s always best to know the rights you have as an air travel passenger, helping you to make the most out of a bad situation, and to get as much compensation from your flight issues as possible.
The laws surrounding the flight rights of UK citizens are currently under EU law, entitling passengers from the United Kingdom the same rights as all those from within the European Union, and further are fully covered with these laws when either departing from an airport in the EU (regardless of the airline) or arriving at an airport in the EU via a plane that is also EU airline-operated.
If your flight is not covered by the rules and regulations of the EU law, passengers may still have rights to assistance, however, you should always check this before your travels.
With Brexit looming at the end of this month, the current rights for UK passengers (protected under EU laws) are likely to change, however the exact nature of how is unknown. Through this piece, we will be exploring the current rights UK citizens now have whilst flying.
The Length of your Flight
In addition to the conditions stated above regarding when airplane passengers’ rights are covered by EU law, the length of your flight is an important factor that can also have an effect on such rights. Therefore, before departing on your travels it is always best to check the distance of your flight in order to determine what category it falls under, and furthermore what rights you may be entitled to as a passenger. The distance of your flight may be shown in your flight confirmation details. Below is a list detailing the different types of flights categorised by distance:
- Short-haul flights – under the distance of 1,500km.
- Medium-haul flights – between the distance of 1,500km and 3,500km.
- Long-haul flights – over the distance of 3,500km.
As long as this flight is covered by EU law (details mentioned above) you are entitled to all such elements of care and assistance funded by the airline as food, drink, access to communication and if necessary, accommodation.
Other factors you may be entitled to for short-haul flights include those listed below:
Flight Delays and Cancellations
If your flight has been delayed and you have substantial and valid evidence that it was the airline’s fault, you may be able to claim a sum of compensation money
If your flight is cancelled your airline must offer you the following two options to choose from:
- Refund the ticket.
- Offer alternative flight
If less than 14 days’ notice is given by the airline for cancellation, you can claim compensation based on the circumstances of the alternative flight offered.
If your alternative flight arrives at the desired destination more than three hours after the time the original flight was due in passengers can claim €250 equivalent to £215 per person (taking the current exchange rate into account). Companies such as Myflyright can help you understand your rights and claim the necessary compensation.
As long as covered by the EU laws mentioned previously, all passengers on medium-haul flights are entitled to such offers of care and assistance from the airline as food, drink, means of contact and communication (e.g. phone), and, when necessary, accommodation. In addition to this, other factors you may be entitled to include the following:
Delays and Cancellations
Similar to the short-haul flight policy, if your flight is delayed and you have valid evidence that it was the airline’s fault you may be able to claim for compensation. In addition to this, if a flight has been delayed for more than five hours for departure or more than 3 hours for arrivals, passengers can make compensation claims.
If your flight is cancelled, the airline must also offer passengers the following options to choose from:
- Refund the ticket.
- Offer alternative flight.
When less than 14 days’ notice is given to the passengers for cancellation, compensation can be claimed based on the details of this. If an alternative flight arrives more than three hours after the time that the original flight was due in, passengers can claim €400, around £343 per person (taking the current exchange rate into consideration) in compensation.
As with both the short and medium-haul flights, issues surrounding delays and cancellations with long-haul flights entitles its passengers to such offers of care and assistance mentioned previously.
In addition to this, if a flight is cancelled with under 14 days of notice given, and the option of an alternative flight is taken; passengers can claim up to €600 equal to £515 (at the current exchange rate) in compensation if the new flight comes in over three hours after the original flight schedule.