A CONSUMER charity has issued advice to Scots holidaymakers, who face long delays and cancellations at airports, as the UK’s flights chaos continues into the bank holiday weekend.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled this week, while other passengers have been forced to wait in queues at airports.

It comes amid staff shortages in the aviation industry after thousands of workers were let go during the Covid pandemic.

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Advice Direct Scotland, which runs the national consumeradvice.scot service, has published guidance for travellers to make them aware of their rights and what they are entitled to if their flights are cancelled or if they are held up for lengthy periods.

Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “With flights being cancelled and delayed by airlines it is important for people to understand their rights in relation to the refunds, compensation and assistance they are entitled to, and how to go about claiming it.

“We have published an overview of some of the most commonly-asked questions on our consumeradvice.scot website.

“We also have a team of expert advisors on hand to offer free, practical and importation advice and information about delayed or cancelled flights, and on a range of other consumer-related issues.

“You can contact consumeradvice.scot on 0808 164 6000.”

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When can I get a refund and compensation on a flight?

The charity said protection is offered by the ‘Denied Boarding Regulation’ or ‘EU Regulation 261/2004’ if their delayed or cancelled flight was booked with a UK or European airline, departed from the UK or Europe.

It said customers facing delays of two hours or more for short haul flights may be entitled to assistance including free meals and refreshments and free accommodation or hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required.

For medium haul flights of two to four hours, the delay must be three hours or more to claim compensation, rising to four hours for long haul journeys.

If the delay lasts longer than five hours, customers may be able to choose between being rerouted on a different flight or getting a refund.

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Compensation can only be claimed if the delay is not due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as severe weather, long security queues, security risks, unlawful acts and strikes by non-airline staff like baggage handlers.

For EU-regulated flights that are cancelled, and where ‘extraordinary circumstances’ do not apply, customers can ask for a refund or choose to take an alternative flight.

Compensation can be claimed where less than 14 days’ notice was given for the cancellation. The amount will vary but usually starts at €125.

What is the process for claiming flight delay compensation?

For flights arriving at their destination late by three hours or more, each passenger is entitled to claim flight delay compensation.

There are several factors that will influence the amount of compensation you can claim, including the distance travelled, length of flight, and the reason(s) for delay.

The airline will be able to provide specific information on how to make a claim through them directly.

This can usually be found in booking terms and conditions, as well as on airline websites.

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How much can I claim on a delayed flight?

  • Flight distance up to 1,500km (932 miles) – arriving more than 3 hours late – entitled to €250
  • Any flight in EU over 1,500km (932 miles) or any other flight between 1,500km-3,500km (2,175 miles) – arriving more than 3 hours late – entitled to €400
  • Flight distance more than 3,500km (2,175 miles) – arriving between 3 and 4 hours late – entitled to €300
  • Flight distance more than 3,500km (2,175 miles) – arriving more than 4 hours late – entitled to €600

Under the Montreal Convention, you may be able to claim compensation if the delay or cancellation caused you to:

  • Miss a night of pre-booked accommodation
  • Miss a concert/event you have bought tickets for
  • Miss a day of car rental you have already paid for.

How long do I have to make a claim for a delayed flight?

You can make a claim for delayed flights up to six years after the delayed or cancelled flight – as long as you flew in/out of a UK airport.