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Jon Wilby

Jon Wilby

Partner & Head of Litigation

It has been widely reported in the media that airlines are not liable to compensate affected customers for the inconvenience or financial costs of the disruption to their travel plans that was caused by the recent closure of Gatwick airport. This is because the decision to close the runway was an air traffic control decision and as such is defined as an “extraordinary circumstance” under EU Law for which passengers cannot claim compensation under the flight delay regulations.

However, the regulations do still require airlines to provide the following:

  • Food & Drink for any delay of more than 2 hours.
  • Access to phone calls and emails.
  • Accommodation if you’re delayed overnight and journeys between the airport and the hotel.
  • A replacement flight to your destination.
  • A full refund if the flight is cancelled or you don’t take the flight after it was delayed for more than 5 hours.

Therefore, it is not entirely accurate to say that customers have no recourse to compensatory help from the airlines. The EU Regulations only apply if the departure was from the European union which still includes the UK. For other flights that start from outside the EU the situation will depend on the terms of the booking contract with the airline.

Travellers who have lost out financially due to the delay or cancellation of their flights might still have some right to compensation through their own travel insurance although generally speaking cover is likely to be excluded under most policies for the same “extraordinary circumstance” reasons.

If you have have been affected by any travel cancellations or delays and you require advice please contact a member of our team – click here and select ‘litigation’.