Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can I claim compensation for delayed flights?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Thursday 14 February 2013
Q My wife and I were on a flight from Manchester to Madeira in May 2006. It was delayed for several hours. The return flight was delayed even longer – instead of returning in the early evening, we got back early the next day. Can I claim compensation?
Barrie Wilkinson, Lincolnshire
A Probably not. The European Court of Justice recently decided that a flight delay of three hours or more amounts to a cancellation, and that if the airline was to blame then passengers could claim compensation – anything between €250 and €600. Most retrospective claims are allowed, but for flights from UK airports there is a cut-off of six years – so any departure before 8 February 2007 would not qualify. It is theoretically possible that the return flight, from Madeira, may qualify, as it falls within the jurisdiction of the Portuguese aviation authority, but I fear the chance of getting a successful outcome after all this time is remote.
I have written a brief about your rights and how to obtain them, available here: bit.ly/EU261Claim.
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