Airports and air travel have always caused difficulties and stress, but in the present age – with tight security and overcrowded terminal buildings – travellers have to deal with situations more fraught than ever before. To add to their problems flights are often delayed or cancelled, and suitcases vanish or turn up with items missing or damaged.
If you encounter any of these problems, you will be able to cope better if you are thoroughly familiar with your options before travelling.
If you’re flying to or from an EU airport with an EU airline, under EU rules you might be entitled to compensation if you are delayed. You can check on the Civil Aviation Authority website www.caa.co.uk which also provides information on other eventualities and on ATOL financial protection for package flight travellers.
Depending on how long your flight is delayed and where you’re flying to, the airline might have to provide you with food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight. Again, the CAA website (see above) provides relevant information.
If your flight is cancelled you might have the legal right to have either a full refund or a replacement flight to get you to your destination (from another airline if necessary).
If your luggage is delayed, damaged or lost and the airline is at fault, you have the right to claim compensation from the airline. Act quickly because you might have to claim within seven days of your flight date. But if you have travel insurance or home contents insurance that covers luggage, an insurance claim might be a better option, depending on your excess.
The Citizens Advice website www.citizensadvice.org.uk will tell you everything you need to know.
For more guidance, telephone Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or visit Citizens Advice during opening hours. Details of office locations are on www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/oxfordshire-south-vale