Airports are being scrutinized for long delays at check in and security, and a major raft of flight cancellations in the past couple of weeks. This is mainly down to staffing levels and pilot shortages across the board, in many cases exacerbated by Covid layoffs back in 2020-21.
Globally, the industry has lost more than £145bn and an estimated four million jobs since the start of the pandemic. EasyJet alone cut 1,400 jobs, while BA laid off 10,000 employees during the pandemic, only rehiring about 4,000 as of 2021. Many airlines have acted by cancelling flights as demand outstrips what they can actually fulfill.
So what if you’re affected by a flight cancellation? Do you claim against the airline, or your own travel insurance policy? And how do you make sure they pay out?
We’ve put together some key information that will help you understand the broad claims process, and tackle any ‘technicalities’ that could see your compensation claim rejected! We can’t promise these will guarantee a successful claim, but being aware of them should give you a strong chance.
1. Approach the airline before your travel insurance company
In the first instance, contact the airline operating the flight; the customer services department will usually help. Be ready to give all your flight details and booking reference numbers.
Write your claim – say what went wrong and what you want the airline to give you. The Civil Aviation Authority has information about how to write a good claim, and you can download a template letter from the Which? website. Include copies (not originals) of your tickets and any receipts.
Keep records – keep copies of your claim and any response from the airline. Take notes if you speak to anyone from the airline – this could be useful if you decide to take your claim further.
2. Prove you arrived at the airport in time
Yes, you read that right. Of course, the airport is aware of its queuing system and any related delays. If you miss your flight due to being held up in a long line, in order to claim at any compensation, you’ll need to provide proof you arrived at the airport on or before the recommended time prior to departure, as specified by the airline.
This could be a parking ticket/receipt, taxi receipt or train ticket. Failing to prove your arrival time could mean the airline refuses to compensate you.