Resolver guide – Flight cancellations and compensation

3 min read
April 07, 2022
Flight cancellations and compensation

Before the pandemic, one of the biggest areas of complaint was flight delays, cancellation and compensation. A jaw dropping 135,000 complained to Resolver about flights before Covid kicked in.

With the holiday season about to take off for the first time in two years, millions of people will be returning to the airport. But problems can still occur. In the last week we’ve seen the huge impact of staff shortages causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled – and from many of the world’s most popular airlines.

The good news is the old EU rules about flight compensation are still in operation – though the Government has indicated changes may be made to that soon soon.

So what happens if your flight is delayed or cancelled? Here’s how it works.

If your flight has been delayed, what you’re entitled to depends on how long the delay was and what distance you are flying

When can you claim?

  • The flight must be delayed by more than three hours and the delay is counted from the time the flight is meant to arrive – not take off. ‘Arrival’ counts as the point at which the cabin crew open the doors… not when the plane touches down).
  • The flight must take off from the UK or European Union or be from an airline based in these areas. Connected flights count, even if you switch to a non-EU airline half way through your trip.
  • The issue must be ‘within the control of the airline’. So the recent storms and bad weather or air-traffic control disputes are going to leave you without any compensation. However airlines strikes are generally considered to be ‘foreseeable’ so you should be able to claim.

How much can you claim for?

Before Brexit, you’d get compensation in Euros. However, now the rates are in pounds, which is why they might seem lower than before.

  • If the flight is up to 1,500 km and is more than three hours late, then you can claim £220.
  • If the flight is between 1,500 and 3,00 km and is more than three hours late, then you can claim £350.
  • If the flight is more than 3,500 km and leaving the EU, or is an EU airline flying into the UK and is between three and four hours late, then you could get back £260.
  • If the flight is more than 3,500 km and is more than four hours late, then you could expect up to £520.

Compensation for cancellation follows similar patterns but also depends on when the flight was cancelled. Check Resolver’s flights guide for the full list: You can also insist on a replacement flight (where possible) and this could shift to another airline if yours doesn’t have an alternative.

 What about lost, delayed or damaged baggage?

You are entitled to compensation for delayed, lost or damaged baggage, but you may well get more through making a claim on your insurance policy.

If you have a problem with checked in luggage then your airline can usually guide you through the process but the key thing is to report it as soon as possible. In fact, timescales for claiming can be as low as seven days, so don’t wait around – and you should report the matter straight away.

What you get is variable, depending on what you’re claiming for. So you could for example, get:

  • Essential clothing items, toiletries and other key things you need to get by.
  • The cost of replacing the luggage itself in full or in part.
  • Costs for collecting if you have to go and get the item.

There’s usually a cap on the maximum that they’ll pay out, so don’t think that Louis Vuitton suitcase range will be matched. I always recommend keeping valuables on you too, as compensation for expensive items in your luggage isn’t always available in full or in part.

Airlines can be real sticklers for paperwork with these claims, even if it’s their fault. So keep your boarding card, proof of reporting, forms and anything related to the claim.

Resolver can help you sort out your complaints relating to airlines and travel companies: Check out


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