I’m just back from Nice in the south of France. It was a great getaway, but the closure of Heathrow airport brought me back down to earth… over an hour later than I should have been.
Dragging heels, screaming babies, dusty airports and the obligatory struggle to stuff as many boxes of Turkish delight and vacuum-packed olives into your hold luggage as humanly possible. What am I talking about? Flying home from your summer holidays.
And the last thing anyone needs is to hear the following announcement mid-air: ‘I’m afraid we’ve got an announcement to make…’
Flight delays and diversions
My friend and I were two of the thousands of travellers affected by Friday’s temporary closure of Heathrow airport. A fire in an Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner forced Heathrow airport to close for about 90 minutes, causing delays and cancellations.
We were due to land in Gatwick but, in order to allow for the diversion of Heathrow-bound long-haul flights to other London airports, our short-haul flight was forced to land in Paris.
With foresight almost prophetic, we’d caught the food trolley before the announcement and had spent our remaining euros on plastic bottles of wine and mini tubs of Pringles. We were pretty well equipped for a Friday night sat on the runway at Charles de Gaulle. Which is more than can be said for the poor family across the aisle with three small children.
To the airline’s credit, we were kept up-to-date and we were back in the air within the hour. However, the knock-on effect meant longer queues at Gatwick’s passport control and missed trains. And for those unfortunate long-haul passengers who had missed connecting flights? Well, they had long night to look forward to.
Your flight rights to compensation
If your flight is departing from an EU airport and you’re delayed, you may be entitled to some assistance (food, accommodation etc) under the Denied Boarding Regulations, depending on the length of the flight and the length of delay.
Unfortunately for me, my flight was delayed by less than two hours, meaning that I’m not entitled to compensation. You can read the ins and outs of when you’re entitled to compensation for flights delays in our guide. And if think you’re entitled to compensation for a delayed flight, you can use this letter template to seek redress from an airline.
Have you been hit by a flight delay? Did you successfully claim compensation and assistance?