Flight delays and your travel insurance

When you can claim compensation for a delayed flight

5 minutes

Can you get compensation for a delayed flight? And does your travel insurance help with any related costs?

Delayed flights can be frustrating, but how do you know what you can claim on your travel insurance and what you can't?

When flying from an EU airport or with an EU registered airline arriving at an EU airport, your airline is responsible for looking after you if your flight gets delayed by at least two hours.

You should also check your travel insurance policy, as some, like LV='s Premier travel insurance provide additional financial assistance when your flight's delayed.

My flight's delayed. What compensation am I entitled to?

In 2012, a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice gave certain rights to travellers whose flights were severely delayed.

As a result, travellers are entitled to different levels of compensation depending on how long they've been delayed. So, after a two hour delay, travellers should be offered:

  • Access to phone calls and emails 
  • A meal or snack and a drink, depending on the time of day
  • Overnight accommodation if necessary

If your flight arrives more than three hours after its scheduled time, you can claim financial compensation in addition to more refreshments. The amount of compensation depends on how far you're flying and how long you're delayed.

For short haul flights of up to 1,500km, you're entitled to €250 per person. For flights between 1,500km and 3,500km, you're entitled to €400.

For long haul flights over 3,500km that are delayed between three and four hours, you can claim for €300 per person and €600 per person if delayed for more than four hours.

To be able to make a claim, the delay must be the fault of the airline. If there's an extraordinary circumstance, such as severe weather or a staff strike, you probably won't be able to claim for the delay.

To be able to make a claim, the delay must be the fault of the airline. 

I've been bumped. What am I eligible for?

If you get bumped from a flight because the airline has overbooked, you also have certain rights.

You're eligible for a refund, or a new flight if you still want to travel. Plus, if you're delayed arriving by more than three hours, you can claim compensation.

My flight has been cancelled. Can I make a claim?

If your flight's cancelled, you can ask for a refund of the cost of the ticket, or you can accept an alternative flight.

If the alternative route means you arrive later than you would have on your original flight, you may be offered compensation depending on how long you've been delayed.

With LV= Premier cover, you're insured for up to £1,000 towards alternative transport and accommodation costs if it's clear your transport is going to be delayed by more than 24 hours. This means, for example, you can get on and book alternative flights, so you don't have to wait around to get your holiday started.

Can I abandon my flight if it's still delayed?

After a delay of five hours or more, you can choose to abandon your flight and claim the cost of your ticket back from the airline. If this includes return flights, the airline will reimburse you for those as well.

Your travel insurance may also provide some cover if you decide to abandon your holiday because of a severe delay flying out to your destination.

What about other transport delays?

The EU regulations only apply to flights from the EU or into the EU on an EU registered airline. They don't cover flights by non-EU registered carriers back to the EU, or by EU registered carriers that fly to and from non-EU countries.

So, if your flight is delayed and you need to pay out for extra meals and drinks while you wait, or even for overnight accommodation, you should check your travel insurance policy. You may be covered, at least in part, for these additional expenses.

The same applies if your ferry, coach or train is delayed and you find yourself with unexpected costs. Questions about your travel insurance and flight delays? Just contact us.