/ Travel & Leisure

Brief cases: getting compensation for a frustrating 13 hour delay

Flight delay

If your flight is delayed by more than three hours, you could be entitled to compensation, but what do you do if the company you’re claiming against isn’t responsive?

Which? Legal member bought a package holiday to Tenerife from Thomson Holidays.

Frustratingly their flight was delayed for 13 hours due to what were described as ‘technical problems’, which caused the crew to be out of flying hours. Thomson staff were late in telling passengers about the delay and its 24-hour help desk did not give much information about it.

Passengers were put up in a hotel at 3am, and were told they had to be ready to get up at 8.15am.

Delayed flights

When this member came to us for advice, our lawyers gave him a letter template to use for contacting Thomson.

He wrote to the company twice, in August and September 2016, but didn’t get a response, so he came back to us.

Our lawyers then advised him to escalate the matter by contacting the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), which helps adjudicate disputes between passengers and some airlines, including BA, easyJet, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

This member went ahead and did this in October and, after the CEDR took on the case, he received a cheque for more than £600 from Thomson later that month.

Your rights on flight delays

When your flight is delayed, you may be entitled to free phone calls, meals and refreshments, and overnight accommodation if necessary.

If it’s delayed by at least three hours or cancelled, you could be entitled to compensation. The amount depends on factors such as how long you’re delayed and how long the flight is.

For example, if you’re delayed by more than four hours on a flight of 3,500km (2,175 miles) or further, you could be entitled to claim €600 (£513).

If your flight is with an airline covered by the CEDR, and you have exhausted its complaints procedure or waited eight weeks from your original complaint, you can escalate it to the CEDR.

Have you tried claiming for a flight delay? Would you try escalating your claim if you didn’t get a response?


We also need the right to demand payment in EUR and not converted into GBP using the airline’s choice of exchange rate with a hefty skew in the airline’s favour. Some of us would like to receive these payments into our EUR bank accounts and others would like EUR cash to use when they next travel to the Eurozone.