Snow chaos ruins a Roman holiday, plus a Cuban query

Q&A: Travel unravelled

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The Independent Travel

Q. We missed our flight from Stansted to Rome on Sunday because 90 security staff couldn't get to work [because of the snow]. Are we entitled to compensation? Richard Keenan

A. From the airport and the airline, nothing. BAA, which owns Stansted, makes no promises about maximum waits for security. While it has targets to achieve on queuing times, any penalties for failing to meet them are paid to the Civil Aviation Authority, not to passengers. When you buy a ticket on an airline such as easyJet or Ryanair, you agree to report to the boarding gate at least half an hour before departure. Whether a passenger dawdles in Duty Free or, as in your case, is stuck in a long queue for security, the airline has no further obligation to you – though typically you will be offered the chance to travel on a later service for a fee ranging from moderate to monstrous. Your most likely source of recompense will be travel insurance, though you would need to persuade the insurer that you did everything possible to catch the plane – so supplying proof such as a receipt showing the time you parked at Stansted may be useful.


Q. We are a family of two adults and four boys: six, 13 and two 16-year-olds. We're thinking about Cuba for our summer holiday in July and wondering if this is a good time to go climate-wise. Lynne Simpson

A. No! Cuba is a warm and welcoming destination from November to March. During the rest of the year it varies from uncomfortably humid to unbearably hot, with July particularly grim.