The holiday season is coming to an end, but for returning travelers it is now time to recoup their losses if travel problems occur during their absence.
The Mail on Sunday explains what your rights are when the transport leaves you in the lurch.
Thousands of Ryanair passengers suffered furious cancellations and delays this summer while the airline struggled with quarrels with trade unions across Europe. Those whose flights were canceled were offered a refund or another flight.
Although all passengers entering countries to and from the European Union are also entitled to compensation for long waiting or canceled flights under the so-called EU261 rule, there are exceptions.
Abandoned: passengers were struck by Ryanair strikes
Ryanair apparently rejected claims because staff strikes one of the exceptional circumstances & # 39; are giving airlines the right not to pay. Other exceptions are dangerous weather conditions, delays in air traffic control or aircraft tampering.
But the aviation regulatory authority, the Civil Aviation Authority, says that passengers whose flights have been canceled with a notice period of less than 14 days must be eligible for compensation.
A Ryanair spokesperson says: & # 39; According to EU261 legislation no compensation is due to customers when the (strike) delay / cancellation is beyond the control of the airline. If these attacks were to come under the control of Ryanair by a small minority of pilots, there would have been no attacks. & # 39;
The Irish airline defends its position by pointing out similar incidents, such as last year by BA cabin crew strikes, when the airline did not take any action in relation to EU261.
Couples travelers will have to deal with all sorts of disruptions, regardless of their chosen airline.
According to the rules, every traveler is entitled to a maximum reimbursement of € 600 (£ 540), depending on the duration of the delay and the flight distance. It does not matter if the original ticket was a fraction of that amount. If a fault is the airline's fault, perhaps because of staff shortages or even a technical error on the plane, cash has to be offered.
The compensation rules apply to those who fly from a European airport to each airline – and who arrive at an EU airport at an EU airline. This also applies to Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
The compensation clock starts tapping after a three-hour delay that arrives at the destination. Passengers with a short flight of less than 1500 km – say London to Paris – are entitled to € 250 each.
For a flight between a European and a non-European airport of between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers – say London to Marrakech – it is € 400. Those on a long-haul flight outside of Europe who experience a delay of four hours will receive € 600.
If a stopover at an EU airline company is delayed by more than three hours, a claim is valid even if it takes place outside the EU.
Although a claim can technically be submitted up to six years after the problem, it is wise to set it up quickly. Brexit can throw a spanner in the works.
Someone who flies with a non-EU airline, says United Airlines from Florida to London, does not have the same right to compensation under European rules.
But look at the terms and conditions of the airline, because it can have its own compensation schemes.
HOW TO CLAIM
To start the process, passengers usually apply through the airline's website – although some ask for paperwork by mail. You can also use a free complaint program as offered by the Resolver website – but note that easyJet does not accept claims in this way.
Do not be tempted to use claims managers. Such companies account for up to 40 percent of the compensation as their remuneration. These vultures are everywhere on the internet and even place agents on arrival halls at popular holiday destinations to catch tired travelers, as The Mail revealed on Sunday in July.
Martyn James, of Resolver, says: & # 39; These companies make no difference to the outcome of your claim, but take a large part of the compensation for doing nothing effectively. & # 39;
If a claim is rejected, consider submitting the case to an airline or airport dispute settlement service. Aviation ADR mediates, for example, between Ryanair and its passengers. You can find details about such arrangements on the Civil Aviation Authority website at caa.co.uk.
More than ten million people annually take the Eurostar under the English Channel. Disruption is inevitable at such a busy service. But compensation is available for delays of more than one hour.
If you apply within 60 days, you will receive a partial reimbursement in cash. This is worth 25 percent of the price for a waiting time between one and two hours and 50 percent for any delay of more than two hours. The money must be received within 14 days.
You can still claim 60 days after the disruption (but not later than a year). In this case you will receive Eurostar e-vouchers for future trips. These are worth 25 percent of the ticket price for a delay of one to two hours, 50 percent for between two and three hours and 75 percent for more than
three hours. These are valid for 12 months. Passengers whose train has been canceled can receive a full refund or exchange their ticket for use within six months.
For delays in trains in the UK, please contact the railway company. Most pay slightly for an hour or more, while others offer compensation for delays of 15 or 30 minutes.
Many train companies are signed up for a & # 39; delay scheme & # 39 ;. For example, Greater Anglia returns 50 percent for a single flight (25 percent for a return) if passengers are delayed by 30 minutes and one hour late. For delays of one to two hours they get the full price of one or half of the return. Two hours or more and the full price is returned, regardless of whether it is single or returns.
Get a delay form from a station and place it with the ticket as proof. Some companies accept online applications with a scanned copy of the ticket.
The usual time limit for claiming is 28 days. If a complaint is not resolved, contact Watchdog Transport Focus at transportfocus.org.uk.
Millions of us take ferries every year to the mainland and islands off the mainland of the United Kingdom. If a crossing is delayed for a long period of time, compensation must be available – unless the delay is due to exceptional circumstances & # 39 ;, such as dangerous weather conditions.
The amount paid is equal to 25 percent of the ticket price for one-hour delays on a journey of up to four hours, two hours on a journey of four to eight hours, three hours on a journey between eight and 24 hours and six hours of hours a journey of more than 24 hours.
If the disruption lasts longer than twice these times, the compensation rises to 50 percent of the ticket price.
If a ferry is canceled – or the departure is delayed for more than 90 minutes – the company must offer an alternative sailing at no additional cost and a refund as described above.
For unsolved complaints, please contact the Association of British Travel Agents at abta.com.
I had a delay of five hours – now about that payment …
After being trapped in a delay of more than five hours on a flight from Southend airport to Caen in France, I know very well how exhausting delays – and compensation claims – can be.
It turned out, but only after we finally started, that the delay of the Flybe flight was due to the fact that the pilot had crashed on a foggy island the night before. To make a long story short, he eventually had to make a five-hour cab ride from Manchester to Essex, while his 90 passengers in the departure hall were shaking their thumbs.
I put aside my frustration over the shortened weekend to visit my sister in Normandy and I knew that I could at least demand compensation. I asked for a form from the counter staff in Southend and made my claim a few days later.
Kept: Sally Hamilton was on his way to Normandy
That was ten days ago and I still have not seen a sign of payment.
According to the EU261 rules, I should receive € 250 because my short flight arrived more than three hours late. An automated message from customer service simply said that my application had been received.
A spokesperson for the airline just said: "Flybe meets and fully complies with all of its obligations with regard to EU261 rules and pays compensation to customers legally entitled to receive it and processes claims as quickly and efficiently as possible. of the current question. & # 39;
I hope so, because my patience feels thin.