Flight cancellations, rail strikes and passport problems: your travel questions answered by Simon Calder

The summer season getaway is nicely beneath means, however for travellers the vary of potential issues appears to be multiplying – with wholesale flights cancellations, a threatened rail strike throughout Britain and persevering with points with post-Brexit crimson tape.

Simon Calder has tackled 11 urgent journey questions in his newest Ask Me Something.

Flight cancellations and delays

Q: If an airline cancels your flight, how do you truly make it fulfil its statutory obligations to get you to your vacation spot or present a resort? Every little thing I’m seeing and listening to suggests they merely “hardball” you and do nothing to assist. Higher to take possession, ebook your self and reclaim?

Marty 78

A: Even when cancellations are being made on an industrial scale, you’ll want to give the airline each likelihood to fulfill its obligations beneath the European air passengers’ rights guidelines: to offer an alternate flight as quickly as potential, and resort lodging when you wait. The cancellation message ought to include a rebook hyperlink – although it will look solely on the airline’s personal companies. If an alternate flight on the cancelling provider is obtainable on the identical day, you have to to simply accept it (or declare a full refund).

Equally, for resort lodging: there ought to be a hyperlink on the cancellation message from the airline taking you thru to a room allocation service. If this doesn’t ship, then sure, take possession.

The cancelling provider ought to pay all cheap prices related to the journey that it obliged you to take. The important thing phrase there may be “cheap”. For instance, in case you parked your automobile in Manchester however can solely get a flight to Liverpool, it’s incumbent on you to mitigate prices. As a good rail hyperlink exists, fare £19, a £95 taxi to Manchester airport could be cheap provided that there are 5 or extra within the celebration.

Airways are usually not obliged to pay for alcohol, clearly – besides inadvertently, within the uncommon case that solely an all-inclusive resort is obtainable. Subsequently it’s cheap (to make use of that time period once more) for the provider to demand itemised bills, and I urge you to as detailed a report as you’ll be able to; a receipt for a credit-card transaction may nicely be rejected.

Q: We’re a household of 4. Our flight dwelling from Palermo to Luton on Tuesday with easyJet was cancelled on Tuesday. No different flights had been provided through the easyJet app – we had been solely provided a refund or voucher. We simply wished to get dwelling as quickly as potential so booked our personal flights on Eurowings, from Palermo to London Heathrow through Cologne. How do I now declare a refund, reimbursement and compensation? Ought to I apply for a refund from EasyJet for the cancelled flight first, then do a compensation declare, or ought to I merely declare from journey insurance coverage? I’m so confused.

Kirsty C

A: To begin on the finish of your query: for the overwhelming majority of claims ensuing from easyJet’s wholesale short-notice cancellations, journey insurance coverage is irrelevant: the airline is squarely answerable for paying out for the monetary penalties of its actions. The easy component ought to be to assert the £1,400 attributable to a household of 4 for a flight of that size (over 1,500km) beneath European air passengers’ rights guidelines. Merely fill within the particulars on-line on this hyperlink. If the trigger was purely technical or attributable to workers scarcity, there ought to be no dispute about your entitlement. But when different elements come into play – akin to unhealthy climate someplace in Europe, or an air-traffic management failure – then you could have extra of a battle securing the fee.

Subsequent, recompense to your bills. Within the absence of assist from easyJet (who, with a bit of labor, might need been capable of provide a routing through mainland Italy), your answer for getting dwelling appears to be like completely cheap. A brief-notice reserving just like the one you made, I speculate, most likely value round £200 per particular person. Don’t at this stage search a refund; as a substitute, in your utility for bills deduct the price of your unique flight from the overall for alternative tickets, lodging and meals.

Q: What are your rights when an airline cancels a flight with greater than 14 days discover. They provide a refund or a flight on a special day, however I’d a lot quite journey on the identical day if I can? Are they obliged to purchase me a ticket on one other airline?

Pete 90

A: Based on the Civil Aviation Authority the airline definitely should ebook you on a rival airline on the unique day of journey. No compensation payable, thoughts, with two weeks’ discover given.

Q: Our flight dwelling with easyJet from Venice to Luton was cancelled. They’ve refused to ebook us different lodging and we now have to remain an additional 30 hours right here. Are they chargeable for our bills despite the fact that they declare there are “extraordinary circumstances”?

Grace 126

A: Any airline that cancels a flight should cowl all cheap direct bills. You may subsequently focus on whether or not or not you’re entitled to money compensation on prime.

Q: Would you say that TUI is extra dependable than easyJet in the intervening time, when it comes to flights not being cancelled as a lot?

Celine P

A: By way of flights being cancelled on a typical day, sure. Tui is taking out six departures every day (equal to 12 flights) whereas easyJet is grounding round 60. The latter factors out that the overwhelming majority of its flights – 96.5 per cent in the present day – are working usually.

Q: Are easyJet and BA truly paying compensation for the cancelled flights over the past two weeks or will they are saying it was for causes out of their management? I had two flights cancelled every by BA and easyJet however no rationalization given as to why – so I concern this is perhaps them being non-committal on the subject of paying out compensation.


A: In my expertise, British Airways pays out with out fuss when it accepts it’s accountable. If BA believes it has an “extraordinary circumstances” defence, it can battle any declare. With easyJet, the clue is to have a look at what the airline says when it cancels your flight. Within the case of Thursday’s Venice-Luton departure, for instance, easyJet says: “We’re sorry that your flight has been cancelled.

This is because of an industrial motion in Italy affecting all Italian workers. The disruption to your flight is exterior of our management and is taken into account to be a rare circumstance.” Now, a lawyer would possibly argue with that defence. However you realize you’re on monitor for compensation when the airline doesn’t say why the flight is cancelled. This morning’s Gatwick-Malaga flight, for instance, says: “We’re actually sorry that your flight has been cancelled.

”We perceive that this can be disappointing information and we need to make it as simple as potential so that you can make new plans, so right here’s every thing you’ll want to find out about what to do subsequent …”

That’s your sign for claiming both £220 (for flights of beneath 1,500km) or £350 (for longer flights).

Q: I’m attributable to fly quickly however not with easyJet or BA. Are different airways cancelling their flights or is it primarily UK-based operators?


A: British Airways and easyJet are means forward of the remainder when it comes to the proportion of flights cancelled. Ryanair and Jet2 are one of the best performers; on Wednesday 8 June they grounded six and two UK flights respectively, on account of industrial motion in Italy, however this was extremely uncommon. Wizz Air is middling.

Q: My flight from Spain this week arrived 3 hours and quarter-hour late, triggering a compensation declare. For this function, I’m curious to know what supply the airline trade makes use of to reference arrival occasions for flights, please?

Mark 1984

A: For the needs of a declare beneath European air passengers’ rights guidelines, compensation is payable for all arrivals which can be three hours or extra late: £220 for brief flights (as much as 1,500km) and £350 for longer European journeys. Provided that “extraordinary circumstances” are accountable can the airline decline a declare – and technical issues and/or workers scarcity are usually not acceptable excuses.

Simply to be clear: the delay in departure is irrelevant. So too is the time you must wait to your baggage. All that counts is the arrival time. So how is the hole between the scheduled and precise occasions of arrival calculated? Arrival just isn’t outlined because the second the wheels contact the runway (although, curiously, this was the measure utilized by the UK authorities when journey restrictions had been both being imposed or eliminated on the peak of the coronavirus pandemic).

The aviation trade customary is the arrival time on stand, when the plane involves a halt and the parking brake utilized. That is the airline’s deliberate scheduled time of arrival. However even this measure just isn’t the one used for the precise second of arrival with a purpose to make a declare. The European Courtroom of Justice has outlined that key prompt because the time the primary plane door is opened – normally a minute or two after the aircraft arrives.

Your explicit case ought to be reduce and dried, since presumably the aircraft was nonetheless within the air when three hours ticked by. But when there may be any dispute, then free flight monitoring companies ought to be capable of present the time the plane arrives on stand. Simply search on-line for Flightradar24 and the flight quantity. It ought to ship the small print of your journey, together with the touchdown time – which, for the perspective of a declare just isn’t the required measure. In case you click on on the flight after which drag the aircraft image alongside to the tip it is best to see the precise time it parked up.

Ought to you end up straddling that three-hour boundary on a future flight, one of the best plan is to make a remark of the door opening time to the closest second – for instance by recording a voice word on a cell phone, which could have a time related to it. Then if there may be any dispute, you’ll be able to produce some proof.

Rail strike

Q: We’re attributable to journey from Manchester Airport on 23 June on TransPennine Specific. What are our choices if the prepare is cancelled please?

Allan 1950

A: As with anybody booked on the times of the forthcoming nationwide rail strike – on 21, 23 and 25 June – if in case you have already booked an Advance ticket, you’ll qualify for a full refund or transferring to a special date.

Assuming your prepare just isn’t among the many small minority which can be possible nonetheless to function, the rail companies won’t present different transport. Coach options can be scarce, as will taxis and rental vehicles. You might journey in the day gone by (although some disruption can also be anticipated) and keep in an airport resort, however greatest books swiftly – many different individuals could have the identical concept.

Q: I’m travelling from London to Chester on Wednesday 22 June – the day in between two of the strikes on Tuesday and Thursday. Will the disruption carry over onto my journey date to the extent that I ought to contemplate rebooking for various week? Thanks.


A: Regardless that it’s clear that the deliberate strike will have an effect on the intervening days, in your place I’d take an opportunity – as long as the journey averted departures very early within the morning or from mid-evening onwards.

Passport issues

Q: In March, Ryanair wrongly denied me boarding on flight to Portugal (incorrect interpretation of EU passport entry guidelines). I submitted a declare on 13 April for all prices misplaced and compensation, however I’ve not obtained a substantive reply. I’m daunted by the prospect of enterprise court docket proceedings alone. I do know I’m not alone on this concern – is anybody (not me) contemplating beginning a category motion on this matter?

B Belle

A: You’re considered one of hundreds of people that had been wrongly denied boarding by airways that utilized incorrect European guidelines on passport validity after Brexit. All of the carriers have now adopted the right guidelines, which (as a reminder are):

  • On day of arrival within the EU, is the passport lower than 10 years outdated?
  • On the day of departure from the EU, are there three months remaining earlier than the expiry date as written on the passport.

I’m conscious of a lot of claimants, together with attorneys, who’re instigating authorized proceedings in opposition to a spread of airways after they had been wrongly denied boarding. In your place, I’d wait to see the result – and for potential phrase from the Civil Aviation Authority that it’s requiring airways to compensate wronged travellers. I concern the latter is unlikely – as a result of the CAA is a part of the Division for Transport, and deceptive UK authorities recommendation was one cause the airways utilized the fallacious guidelines for therefore lengthy.

Ob1 provides: I’m in precisely the identical boat. I ended up travelling through Eurostar into the Schengen space after which flying to Portugal from Paris.

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