UK airspace system failure: Can you claim compensation back?August 28, 2023
UK airspace system failure: What are your rights and can you claim compensation back?
- Passengers are facing severe delay after a air traffic control system failure
- Read on to find out your rights and if you may be eligible for compensation
UK airspace has been hit by a network-wide failure for air traffic control systems on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
The system failure is expected to cause disruption for the rest of the day, as the UK will see flights delayed and cancelled, with the mayhem spreading around Europe.
NATS, the national air traffic controllers based in Hampshire, said in a statement: ‘We are currently experiencing a technical issue and have applied traffic flow restrictions to maintain safety. Engineers are working to find and fix the fault.
‘We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.’
Hundreds of thousands of passengers will be affected by the shutdown, and many are posting their dismay on X, formerly known as Twitter.
TV presenter Gabby Logan is among those struck by the delays, she wrote: ‘After almost 3 weeks away from home I am hours from hugging my family. And have just been told UK airspace is shut. We could be here for 12 hours. So we sit on the plane and wait.’
As the chaos continues, many will be wondering if they can claim compensation. But what are your rights? Read on to find out.
The UK has been hit by a network-wide failure for air traffic control systems on one of the busiest travels day of the year
The system failure is expected to cause disruption for the rest of the day, as the UK will see flights delayed and cancelled, with the mayhem spreading across Europe
Can I claim compensation?
If you’re flight is delayed, your airline should offer you support and, according to Citizens Advice, you may be able to claim compensation if your flight was:
- Leaving from the UK (regardless of the airline)
- Leaving from the EU, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland (regardless of the airline)
- Arriving in the UK and was with a UK or EU airline
- Arriving in the EU and was with a UK airline
If you’re on a non-UK flight which connects to a UK flight, you can usually receive compensation if you booked both flights as a single booking, if the delay was the airline’s fault and if you’re delayed for more than 12 hours.
If your flight is delayed, your airline has to offer food and drink, access to phone calls and emails and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight, as well as journeys between the airport and hotel.
However, you’re unlikely to get compensation if the delay was because of something outside the airline’s control.
According to EU Regulation EC 261/2004, disruptions caused by things like extreme weather, airport or air traffic control employee strikes or other ‘extraordinary circumstances’ are not eligible for compensation.
Hundreds of thousands of passengers will be affected by the shutdown, but compensation rules mean that airlines could avoid paying out due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’
How much could I be entitled to?
READ MORE: Huge network failure hits UK air traffic control: Nation-wide system failure causes chaos for travellers – delaying hundreds of flights n and out of the country for ‘at least 12 hours’
In cases where the airline is at fault for a delay, passengers could receive the following compensation.
- 3 hours or more, less than 1,500km: £220
- 3 hours or more, between 1,500 and 3,500km: £350
- 4 hours or more, more than 3500km: £520
- Less than 4 hours, more than 3,500km £260
If your flight is delayed for 5 hours or more you can claim £520 in compensation if the delay is the airline’s fault and you take flight.
If you don’t take the flight and the airline is at fault, they should give you a full refund for the flight and any other flights from the same airline that you won’t use.
If you are part-way through your journey, they should fund a flight back to the airport you originally departed from.
Alternatively, if your flight is cancelled you may be entitled to a full refund or a replacement flight.
How can I claim compensation?
To claim compensation, you will have to go through the relevant airline directly.
Most airlines will have a customer services department which will deal with urgent matters, such as flight delays.
In cases where the delay is not the airline’s fault, the Civil Aviation Authority says ‘don’t expect to receive any compensation.’
However, you may be able to make a claim on your travel insurance, as some insurance policies may offer limited cover for delays, according to the Money Saving Expert website.
But be sure to gather evidence of the costs you’ve incurred, such as hotels or alternative transport.
If you need further help, you can contact the Civil Aviation Authority and Citizens Advice for assistance.
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