/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Have you claimed for a flight delay or cancellation?

Family waiting

Flight delays hit 43 million air passengers between April last year and March, but tens of thousands of passengers on late running flights aren’t claiming the compensation they’re due.

The summer is the perfect time to jet off for some R&R or an adventure somewhere new. But for thousands of travellers frustrations start the moment they step into the airport.

Only last week, a plane full of holidaymakers flying from Manchester Airport to Corfu was delayed by more than 39 hours. The silver lining for these delayed passengers was that once they’d arrived in Corfu they were handed leaflets on how to claim compensation.

As one frustrated holidaymaker, Paul Kenny, pointed out:

‘We have lost almost a third of our holiday, so a big chunk of it. We’ll make the most of the holiday we have left and then I’ll pick up the paperwork and the arguments when we get back.’

Flight delay compensation

These hapless holidaymakers aren’t alone. Our latest research shows almost a quarter of the two million flights to or from the UK last year experienced delays of 15 minutes or more, affecting a not insubstantial 43 million journeys.

More than ten thousand of these flights were more than three hours late, with 180,000 passengers delayed on long haul flights, and a further 800,000 held up on short-haul flights – making nearly one million delayed air passengers in the past year alone.

These figures are high, but fortunately there is something you can do to make sure you’re not out of pocket when you shouldn’t be. After all, you may be happy to be getting hot and bothered on the beach, but inside an airport is a different matter.

Under the current EU Denied Boarding Regulation, the passengers who travelled on these flights were more than three hours late arriving and so could be due compensation.

This Regulation covers you if you’re flying from an EU airport on any airline, or flying into an EU airport from a non-EU airport on an EU-based airline.

It’s worth knowing that if you’re travelling with a non-EU based airline flying from a non-EU destination, the airline doesn’t have the same duty to look after you. But you should check your airline’s Condition of Carriage to see what compensation you’re entitled to – you’ll be able to find this information out from the airline’s website.

Have you claimed compensation for a flight delay?

No I've not tried before (42%, 589 Votes)

No I've never been delayed (33%, 459 Votes)

Yes I've claimed and I was successful (14%, 199 Votes)

Yes I've claimed but I didn't get compensation (10%, 146 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,393

Loading ... Loading ...

Claiming for a flight delay

If you think you’re due compensation for a flight delay, but you not sure how to go about the claim, we’ve got the tools to make the process easier for you.

Our tools have been used more than 20,000 times – 14,202 of those for delays, and 6,202 for cancellations. If you’ve been hit by a flight delay, you can use our flight delay compensation letter, and for delays, we have a flight cancellation compensation letter.

So have you been caught out by a flight delay or cancellation?


There seems to be a growing obsession with claiming compensation at every opportunity. If someone misses a connecting flight as a result of a delay or suffers other significant inconvenience or extra costs then fair enough, but I would prefer to see compensation handled on the basis of individual claims.

I have not claimed compensation and cannot recall more than minor delays on any flight, though I appreciate that not everyone has been so lucky.

Compensation obviously adds to costs for everyone, so perhaps we can have a Conversation about why the cost of flights is so high.

Florence says “there is something you can do to make sure you’re not out of pocket when you shouldn’t be”. If flights are delayed by the periods stated in the regulations that apply to their flight then it is right that the airline honours the code, informs passengers of their rights, and deals fairly with any claims. But nobody who is delayed by fifteen minutes, or even thirty minutes, is likely to be out of pocket. Nobody expects every flight to run smoothly and I have been on many where take-off is delayed, or the air-bridge is occupied and a landed plane cannot berth for some time, but people take that in their stride and while it might be annoying it is not a compensation case. Criticising people for not claiming the compensation they are due doesn’t really get us anywhere. I am one of those delinquent travellers who have shrugged my shoulders and got on with my life without acting like a screaming Dalek shouting “Compensate! Compensate!”.

According to the Intro, not even a quarter of the two million flights into or out of the UK experienced a delay of fifteen minutes or more, so fewer than half a million flights give or take. Of those, more than 10,000 had delays of three hours or more. 2%. Given the complexities of air travel, and the millions of things that can go wrong, that is pretty impressive. I think most people recognise that when there is a delay it is usually in the interests of our safety, or our security, or both. Furthermore, most sensible people realise that when a delay starts nobody – not the airport staff, nor the cabin crew, nor the ground staff, nor the Air Traffic Controllers – can possibly know how long it will last and they don’t deliberately prolong the disruption – in fact there are powerful financial incentives not to do so. Let those who want to make a claim do so, and urge the airlines to deal with them properly in accordance with the regulations, but for those of us who – while not happy with the situation – don’t want to make a song and dance about it, just make sure we get the forms but please don’t complain if we don’t complain and file a claim.

It should be noted that to my knowledge that in the past the Edinburgh-London flights in the evening were often cancelled for operational reasons. The belief was that the airline concerned simply felt that there were insufficient passengers per flight and bumped one into the later flight. The probability is that this is true.

Out of curiosity who do you think has the detail on the cancelled flights and the legitimate reasons for cancellation? Is there a database of this information? Who would be interested in keeping it and do they have any desire to provide this information to consumers?

Does Which? follow up the letters it provides by subsequently asking how successful they have been? This would be encouraging to know. Any pattern of refusals of compensation would also be interesting.

Thanks for the comment @dieseltaylor. We do follow up with those who’ve used our tool – as long as they’ve given us permission to do so – to find out how they’ve got on. It’s currently in the early stages, but once we have built a big enough data set we’re hoping to be able to do something more proactive with it.

The CAA keep a list of legitimate reasons for delays and cancellations – although it has been set aside a few times before in county court judgements.

Excellent. Good data is a powerful tool for identifying problems or seeing what is good.

I note your caveat regarding follow-up and looking at the letter template I am left wondering how you phrase this aspect. What is currently on the template is

“Stay in touch
Keep me up to date on this and other Which? campaigns by email
Our products and services
Keep me informed about other products and services from the Which? Group

I would have thought a better reaction would come from a less embracing choice and perhaps a specific request that they ” Please contact Which? to advise result, or if you prefer we will write and ask the result in six months time. This will allow us to fine tune the process and also find which airlines are difficult to deal with.”

Or something very similar that indicates their response will help others , and even themselves subsequently, by improving the data.

We no longer fly. Used to – a lot – but the entire experience has become so utterly loathsome that I’d rather have my tonsils extracted by a short-sighted blacksmith with Parkinson’s than submit to the interminable waiting, endless and invasive security checks, crowded cabins, uncomfortable seats, inept airports and the seemingly random horrors of baggage reclaim.

When we did fly, on our way to the US one summer, BA cancelled a connecting flight to Heathrow without notice and without explaining the reason. We had our two young children with us, along with several other families, and together we cornered and took hostage a BA manager in a tiny office and refused to leave, or allow him to, until something was done. In short order he arranged a second flight for us and we made the connection which they held on the tarmac at Heathrow. I doubt anything would have been done had we not been so…passionate.

From that I deduced a couple of things. One is that it’s not delays per se to which folk object, it’s the lack of clear and open explanations. Airlines treated their passengers like young cattle: no explanations and a ‘do as you’re told’ approach. From a flight a few years ago it seemed nothing had changed.

The other point is that the only thing which big companies seem to note is loss of income, so compensation might just push them into being a little more customer-friendly. Of course there’s always the hostage option…

That’s a bit more than a flight delay, and I hope you did claim.

I agree with you that lack of explanation is a problem. I once flew to Norway via Schiphol and my luggage was sent somewhere else. Promises were broken and it was late the following day when my case turned up. When I got home I put the matter in the hands of my travel agent and eventually got compensation and – more important – a letter of apology.

Cattle-class is indeed the term for air travel. Certainly a highly unpleasant experience compared to what it once was .

I was going to say I would never travel by air again however there is a flight to HK I would consider to get on-board a ship. My last flight was in 2000 AFAIR and that was from HK and being direct in a half empty jumbo quite pleasant.

I have recently successfully claimed from Thomas Cook Airlines for a 7hr delay due to insufficient de-icing machines at Manchester airport. Initially their prescribed route of claiming failed and I was stone-walled.

I completed the county court claim forms and gathered evidence to supportive fact that the weather conditions prevailing on that day, had been forecast for over 48 hours, therefore it was not the weather which was the cause of the delay but their failure to prepare for those conditions.

I obtained the email addresses of Thomas Cook Airline individual solicitors from the law societies website and sent the proposed county court claim directly to those solicitors. The £940 was paid within 48 hours, having been told by their customer service, I had no basis for a claim.

Equally the CAA were totally unhelpful and ineffective. They are paid and funded by airlines, a nice cosy arrangement; so no guessing whose side they come down on.

I am very impressed by your actions. Thank you for posting here giving the outline. If I could award a gold star [ or even a CDM] I would.

Out of curiosity how does going to the Law Society for the information work. Do they have a reverse index where you put in a company name? My method would be to look at the Annual Accounts available free on-line at Companies House.

Your method I suspect would be more up-to-date given the time-lag in Accounts being filed.

Morning, on the Law Society website you can find solicitors by individual name or by company so I just searched Thomas Cook Airlines. The actual solicitors were very helpful, its the breaking through the barrier they create with customer services who are clueless and just read from a prepared script.

Thanks for the speedy reply.

Your comment regarding customer [dis]service made me think that perhaps this is an area where some legislation on the use of deliberately misleading information would actually be very effective in raising the standards across mutiple industries.

Possibly the 2006 Fraud Act could actually be used creatively in this area.

A self-financing mystery shopper unit paid by the fines levied . And an annual report that would be very educational for customers and firms alike. : )

Well I suppose its business and maths. If on a delayed aircraft with 300 passengers on board. They arrive at a corporate decision to publicly declare that the delay was due to an “extraordinary circumstance”, the call centre staff are given a script and adhere to it. Its not hard to see that they will dissuade a large amount of passengers from pursuing a claim by, in my example stating ” the weather is beyond our control therefore you have no claim”. If a proportion of passengers are still not convinced and then threaten legal action, they stick to the script and a lot more will fall by the wayside due to apathy and the disinclination to issue proceedings.
Then the few die-hards and or the desperate issue the proceedings or in my case send them the completed N1 form showing the intent. They then happily pay up them few, sound in the knowledge that they have quelled a massive potential claim. It is like a game of bluff.

The following may assist someone;

1. My full name is , born aged 58 yrs. I reside at . I am currently and for the past years, have been employed by as a . I am married to my wife , aged 58yrs, who works as a for the . Neither I nor any members of my family have any criminal convictions of any kind whatsoever. I also hold a commercial pilots licence issued by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

2. On 29 February 2016, I booked flights with the Defendant for my wife and myself, to fly from Manchester Airport to Banjul, Gambia departing on 4 March 2016, returning on 11 March 2016, for the purpose of a holiday. The Defendant’s booking reference for the flight is ; I produce the booking confirmation as (exhibit NF1 ). I booked accommodation for the holiday in the resort separately.

3. The flight, operated by Thomas Cook Airlines Limited, flight code; “MT2422” on 4 March 2016 was scheduled to depart Manchester airport at 10:55hrs. Having checked in online, my wife and I arrived at Manchester Airport in good time for the flight; we dropped our case at the bag drop and proceeded to the departure lounge, arriving there at about 10:00hrs.

4. At about 10:25hrs, boarding of the aircraft began for the flight. At about 10:50hrs, with all passengers boarded and seated, the captain of the aircraft (who informed us his name was Frank) made an announcement over the aircraft intercom, stating whilst he was ready to depart, he required that the aircraft be de-iced for the flight and that this would result in a departure delay of about 25 minutes.

5. There then followed a series of announcements from the flight deck with various deadlines, which came and went none were fulfilled. At about 12:00hrs, passengers were informed by the captain that there was a considerable queue for de-icing, that our aircraft was 14th in line to be de-iced, with each de-icing taking about 15 minutes to complete. This deadline also came and went without any delivery of the service required or promised; namely that the aircraft be de-iced in readiness for flight. It is inconceivable that the Defendant did not know of the delays in de-icing services prior to our boarding and this amply demonstrates the contempt, which it holds for its customers. I have a witness who was on the Defendant’s Barbados flight, scheduled to depart at around 09:00hrs that day, a Mrs , she will supply a witness statement. Mrs B was kept on the aircraft until about 16:00hrs that day, then taken to a hotel for an overnight stay. Mrs B was informed that there was no de-icing fluid to de-ice the aircraft and that their crew was out of duty hours with no alternative crew available. Undoubtedly therefore, as early as 09:00hrs that day and in all reality a lot earlier, the Defendant was aware of the serious difficulties, which it was in. However, it failed to truthfully notify its customers of the true situation throughout that day. Choosing instead to cause stress, anxiety, distress and loss of enjoyment to its customers by being “wholly economical with the truth”.

6. Once a delay of three hours had been reached, I requested from one of the air hostesses on our aircraft that a call be made to a taxi driver we had booked to pick us up from the airport at Banjul. The hostess made enquires and then invited me onto the flight deck. There I met the captain who again called himself Frank. I explained that under the Denied Boarding Regulations, I was entitled to two telephone calls and that I wished that the taxi driver be called to ask him not to wait, as we were unsure as to if or when we would arrive. The captain explained that he had contacted company operations and that they had told him not to facilitate the call because if they did it for one passenger, they would have to do it for all. I pointed out to him that it was a legal requirement and a legal right. He responded by shrugging his shoulders and saying I have to do what the company tell me to do. In the event, when we arrived in Banjul, the taxi driver had waited the six hours for us and required 1000 Dalasi (£20) waiting time, which we paid. Taxis do not give receipts in Gambia but I have his card and telephone number for confirmation of the above.

7. My wife and I were effectively kept prisoner on the aircraft with no refreshments and no toilet facilities as they had failed. Engineers were on and off the aircraft for a considerable time seeking to repair the toilet problem. At about 15:00 hrs, a large swell of passengers were asking to be allowed to disembark, having now spent some 4 hrs 30 mins trapped on the aircraft. Their requests were met with broadcasts from the flight deck that, (1) The terminal could not cope with the influx of people if they were allowed to depart the aircraft and (2) What would happen if the de-icing truck arrived and they were not on the aircraft ready to depart?

8. At about 16:10hrs, all passengers were disembarked from the aircraft back into the terminal building. Neither the aircraft crew nor the Defendants appointed ground-handling agents informed us of why we were being disembarked or what was going to happen to us. We were totally uninformed throughout the whole situation by the Defendant, its servants or agents, having been held on the aircraft for some 6 hours. There was a total lack of respect, care or attention for us as customers.

9. At about 16:50hrs, there was an announcement over the airport public address for all passengers to re-embark the aircraft. My wife and I arrived at the departure gate at 16:58hrs; I could see the aircraft and a de-icing truck alongside it, spraying the aircraft with fluid. I took a photograph of this, which I produce as (exhibit NF2”).

10. The delay of over 6 hours together with a total lack of truthful, meaningful or relevant information from the Defendant, its servant or agents caused my wife and I considerable distress, anxiety and apprehension. It totally ruined and overshadowed the first days of our holiday; causing a loss of enjoyment. We did not know if we would depart that day and we were kept totally in the dark as to what was going to happen to us.

11. Our son is an airline pilot, working for based at Stansted airport. On that same day, he flew an aircraft for his company to Banjul on behalf of “Gambia Experience Company”. He departed Gatwick at about 10:30hrs and arrived in Banjul at about 17:00hrs. Not having seen him for a few months, we arranged to meet him, along with his crew that evening and booked a table at a restaurant for dinner to do so. Other than sending him a series of text messages of our delay for him to receive on landing, we were unable to inform him that we would not make dinner that evening. This was very disappointing and upsetting, as we had arranged the flight for this reason. With the benefit of hindsight, we would have been better served driving to Gatwick airport and flying with our son.

12. Having re-boarded the aircraft, it departed Manchester at 17:42hrs and landed at Banjul airport at 23:30hrs. The aircraft was scheduled to arrive at Banjul at 17:20hrs. This represents an arrival delay of 6 hours 10 minutes.

13. As the flight distance from Manchester to Banjul is more than 3500km, under EC Regulation 261/2004, each passenger is entitled to 600 euros compensation from the Defendant.

14. I made early formal complaint to the Defendants resort representative on 8 March 2016, by completing “Customer Feedback Form” serial No 150086, which I produce as (exhibit NF3). I have received no response whatsoever from the Defendant to that completed form.
15. We arrived back in the UK on 12 March 2016. At 08:54hrs on 15 March 2016, I submitted by e-mail to the Defendant, a formal request for compensation in accordance with EC Regulation 261/2004. This claim is produced as (exhibit NF4).

16. The Defendant responded by e-mail on the same day at 09:36hrs, (exhibit NF5). The Defendant denied the claim on the following terms; A full investigation has been carried out to find out what the cause of the delay was and we can see that the flight was delayed due to circumstances that were completely beyond our control. This investigation shows that the root cause of the delay was due to adverse weather.

17. I responded at 16:19hrs the same day, (exhibit NF6). I asked if it was the Defendants final decision on the matter and pointed out that the decision was perverse and totally at odds with the reality of what had occurred on 4 March 2016.

18. The Defendant replied at 10:47hrs on 17 March 2016, (exhibit NF7) and the Defendant failed to answer the question asked, namely; “Was this their final decision on the matter”. Within that same exhibit I responded at 11:21hrs, asking for an answer to my question.

19. Having received no reply, I sent a further e-mail (exhibit NF8) at 11:12hrs on 19 March 2016, seeking an answer to my question, I received no reply.

20. After further telephone requests, on 24 March 2016, the Defendant acknowledged receipt of my initial witness statement and exhibits NF1-10 and confirmed that they stood by their original decision, (exhibits NF11 -12).

21. It is respectfully submitted, that in view of the factual matters and the following reasons, that the Defendants response of; “A full investigation has been carried out to find out what the cause of the delay was and we can see that the flight was delayed due to circumstances that were completely beyond our control. This investigation shows that the root cause of the delay was due to adverse weather”, is totally disingenuous, misleading and untruthful.

22. I produce (Exhibit NF9) which is a true and accurate copy of the “METAR” (Meteorological Actual Report) and “TAF” (Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) issued by the Meteorological Office, for Manchester Airport (Code: EGCC). The time validity for these reports is from 00:00hrs on 3 March 2016 to 23:59hrs the same day.

23. On the “TAF” section of the report at page 4, it can be seen that a Meteorological forecast was issued at 04:59hrs on 3 March 2016, some 30 hours before my flight. The validity period of the forecast report was from 06:00hrs on 3 March 2016, until 12:00hrs on 4 March 2016; this encompasses a period in excess of 24 hours before my flight. On the penultimate and last line of the report it states; TEMPO 0400/0412 2000 RASN BKN004 PROB30 TEMPO 0406/0412 0800 SN BKN001=. Decoded this report reads; Temporarily between 00:00hrs on 4 March until 12:00hrs on 4 March visibility will be reduced to 2000metres with rain and snow with cloud at 400 feet. There is a 30% probability that temporarily between 06:00hrs on 4 March and 12:00hrs on 4 March, visibility will reduce to 800metres with snow and cloud at 100 feet.

24. Each of the further four “TAFS” issued by the Meteorological Office throughout the rest of 3 March 2016, at 11:02hrs, 13:29hrs, 17:03Hrs, 23:00hrs, make it abundantly clear that Manchester Airport may be subject to snow and ice meteorological conditions. In (exhibit NF10) true and accurate copies of the “METARS” and “TAFS” issued by the Meteorological Office for the time period 00:00hrs on 4 March 2016 to 23:59hrs on 4 March 2016, there are two further “TAF” warnings before my flight, issued at 05:03hrs and 08:04hrs of the meteorological conditions which could be expected at Manchester Airport.
25. The cause of the delay for our flight therefore, it is respectfully submitted, is that the Defendant, its servants or agents took no or insufficient care / attention and or made no or insufficient preparation to ensure that the aircraft was prepared for flight given the repeatedly forecast meteorological conditions from 30 hours previously. By these forecasts, the Defendant had been given more than sufficient time to obtain or to ensure that their servants or agents had obtained the requisite supplies needed to deal with the number of flights it intended to operate that day in those forecast conditions. The Defendant manifestly and demonstrably failed to do so.

26. It can therefore be seen that the delay was due to circumstances that were entirely expected, foreseen and foreseeable, also reasonable measures required to prevent the delay were wholly within the control of the Defendant its servants or agents. The truth of the matter is that the Defendant, its servants or agents failed to take reasonable measures to prepare appropriately for the forecast meteorological conditions.

27. At no point or time on 4 March 2016, was Manchester Airport closed to aircraft due to adverse weather. The photograph (exhibit NF 2) demonstrates that snow was not an issue; the only issue being that the Defendant failed in its duty of care to me, in that it failed to respond appropriately to the forecast meteorological conditions.

28. Further, one could reasonably expect wintry conditions at the latitude of Manchester Airport, at the time of the delay; in winter. The meteorological conditions at Manchester Airport on that day were not “extraordinary circumstances”.

29. It has been held (Paterson v British Airways) that de-icing is part and parcel of the everyday aircraft procedures that one would expect to see at an airport, in the winter, at the latitude of Manchester Airport. De-icing is an indispensable procedure for the operation of an aircraft; airlines are regularly faced with situations arising from the use of de-icing and de-icing causing delay is not outside of the normal categories of airport services. The de-icing of an aircraft therefore cannot be classed as “extraordinary circumstances”.

30. The unconscionable flight delay was entirely predictable and entirely preventable by the Defendant, its servants or agents, having exercised reasonable measures, care and or attention to the meteorological reports and forecasts (which were available 30 hours before our flight) and acted accordingly upon them. I seek to rely upon the reported case of Siewert, judgment being handed down on 14 November 2014.
It was stated; By way of derogation from Article 5(1) of Regulation No 261/2004, recitals 14 and 15 and Article 5(3) of that regulation state that an air carrier is to be exempted from its obligation to pay passengers compensation under Article 7 of Regulation No 261/2004 if the carrier can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances which are beyond the air carrier’s actual control (judgment in McDonagh, EU:C:2013:43, paragraph 38 and the case-law cited).
Article 5(3) of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted strictly since it constitutes a derogation from the principle that passengers have the right to compensation (judgment in Wallentin-Hermann, C‑549/07, EU:C:2008:771, paragraph 20). Moreover, not all extraordinary circumstances confer exemption and, in addition, the onus is on the air carrier seeking to rely on them to establish that they could not, on any view, have been avoided by measures appropriate to the situation — that is to say, by measures which, at the time those extraordinary circumstances arise, meet, inter alia, conditions which are technically and economically viable for the air carrier concerned (judgment in Eglītis and Ratnieks, C‑294/10, EU:C:2011:303, paragraph 25).

31. I would also seek to rely upon the Court of Appeal decision in Jet2.Com v Huzar 2014. Which assisted with defining “extraordinary circumstances”, as; something that the nature or origin of the event or events which cause the problem must not be inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the carrier and that it should be beyond its actual control. The de-icing of aircraft is a normal inherent event in the operating of aircraft, in winter, at the latitude of Manchester Airport. The de-icing of aircraft is an activity, which is wholly within the control of the Defendant its servant or agent.

32. The Defendant having had sufficient time and opportunity, has never proven or submitted any evidence whatsoever, to suggest that they took any steps to avoid the situation, which caused the delay, which was totally within their control or that of their servants or agents. Also, as previously explained the delay was entirely avoidable and preventable by the Defendant and or its servants or agents taking the reasonable measure of acting on the meteorological forecasts and ensuring that sufficient de-icing fluid and vehicles were available for their scheduled flights on that day. The weather was not the cause of the delay but rather the Defendants failure to prepare for those conditions, which are usual conditions in winter, at airports at that latitude. It is therefore respectfully submitted that no “extraordinary circumstances” existed and that compensation is due to the Claimant in accordance with the regulations.

33. I would therefore respectfully ask that the Court order the Defendant to pay me the sterling equivalent of 1200 euros compensation in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004 and the costs of this action.

34. Alternatively, the Defendant failed in its duty of care to my wife and I, this caused us to suffer stress, worry, anxiety and loss of enjoyment of our holiday. I seek compensation from the Defendant of £950 for the breach of duty of care and the costs of this action.

I believe that the facts stated in this statement are true

Well, that should certainly qualify for a place in Which?’s Letters for actions templates. Thanks for sharing that.

I tried after 8-9 hour delay – got a long and complex letter back basically justifying why they were not at fault and that they could not compensate. Any suggestions on this? (this was ~ 3 years back now when I filed the claim)

They will always seek to justify, that’s the nature of the game, its money.

Without a full detailed explanation of the circumstances its impossible to help.

This was their response to the above and the exhibits;

Without Prejudice
31 March 2016

Our Reference:

Mr and Mrs N v Thomas Cook Airlines Limited
Dear Sirs,

We refer to your email dated the 28 March 2016 and your telephone conversation today with Rebecca Symondson-Powell.

Firstly may we apologise for the delay to your flight, and the inconvenience this has caused you, further we are sorry that you are disappointment with the service you received from our customer relations department in response to your complaint.

Due to your unfortunate experience to date we are keen to resolve your claim swiftly and avoid the need for issuing court proceedings.

We have now investigated the circumstances of your flight delay and can confirm that you and your wife are entitled to compensation for the sterling equivalent of 600 euros each pursuant to Article 4 (3) and Article 7 of EC Regulation 261/2004 (the Regulation).

Therefore we hereby offer to settle your claim for the sum of £951.76 (£475.88 each) in full and final settlement of your claim for compensation, this is the sterling equivalent of 1200 euros based on the current exchange rate.

We note that you incurred the addition £20 expense for the taxi waiting for you in resort as a result of the delay, we are happy to include this in addition to the compensation offer.

Therefore, we would be grateful if you could please respond to Joanna Powell at joanna.powell@thoamscook.com to confirm if you are willing to accept our offer. Should our offer be accepted we would be grateful if you could please ensure that all payment details are included within your response to prevent any delays with payment.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Kind Regards
Joanna Powell
Legal Counsel

The Thomas Cook Business Park Coningsby Road

Thomas Cook Airlines limited
Hangar One
Western Maintenance Area Runger Lane
Manchester Airport

Let’s go


How long have I wished for real-life details to be provided which people can relate to. The important part is that being fully documented case it is far more effective than any number of vanilla template letters in encouraging more consumers to take action and not be fobbed off.

Thanks again for taking the time and trouble to post here.

Hello, we just come back from our holiday from Barcelona last night. Our flight from Heathrow and Barcelona was 7.30am but it was cancelled due to technical fault (explained by the staff). Our flight was rescheduled at 19.30 from Gatwick.

Unfortunately, this rescheduled flight was delayed about 3 hours and we got to Barcelona airport by 1am, we eventually arrived our accomodation at 1.30am costing us taxi and late check-in charges.

This caused us in total of 14hours delay in total. I am seeking to get compensation but confused as to which template letter should I use because the flight was cancelled and the rescheduled flight was delayed. Maybe I should seek a professional help from which? but thought if anyone has advice.

I want to get this right especially seeing my 8years old struggling (who was up since 4am to get to the airport then dragged around all day till 1.30 am on the following day!).

On the day, BA arranged vouchers/transport but didn’t mention anything about entitlement for compendation.

Hi Melmelly,

There are two forms on the BA.com website that are easy to fill in – you don’t need to write a letter.

Firstly, to make a claim for out of pocket expenses, go here:


Secondly, you are entitled to EU compensation over and above your out of pocket expenses:


Use the “Your issue” dropdown to select what you are claiming for (cancellation / delay).

I have used these forms to successfully claim twice in the last 6 months, so at least hats off to BA for being honest and up front when things go badly wrong.

Maybe if more people knew their rights and made sure **all** airlines paid up for what are often financial/profitability calls (not enough backup aircraft, not enough crews, cancelling flights that are less than 50% full), the public airport lounges wouldn’t be overflowing with so many delayed and disgruntled passengers getting in the way.

So – Florence @ Which? – as I am sure you know, you only need to be delayed for 2 hours on a short haul flight. But you really need to make that a lot clearer in your lead article, or your readers could be missing out.

My wife and i experienced a cancellation and rerouting with a 24 hours difference on our return flights with Etihad Airways from Brisbane to Edinburgh in April 2016.
We had no option but to accept the change involving leaving 24 hours earlier than originally booked and changing our itinerary to comply.
We contacted Etihad on return, of our annoyance and stress in the change, which they never notified us of, and was only discovered shortly before we left Edinburgh en route to Brisbane, when checking flight details, and claimed for compensation.
Etihad flatly refused to compensate because they stated they were not an EU based airline and as such were not compelled to comply to EU rulings in the matter.
I find it hard to differentiate how an airline that uses an EU route, starting or finishing in an EU country, can opt out of compensation, simply because that airline has its base outside the EU.

For a fairish percentage takes the donkey work out for you. The Dutch consumer body actually have a financial arrangement with them whereby members wins help fund Consumentenbond coffers. Not to say that they do not suggest DIY for those prepared to do the work.

Thanks dieseltaylor for your advice.I will look at the site euclaims but the problem is flying in or out of the EU with an airline that has its base in Abu Dhabi does not have to comply with EU regulations in this matter.

GregTodd says:
19 February 2019

Not entirely. Non-EU airlines are required to comply with EU Regulations when flying out of the EU. I got compensation for an Emirates flight to Dubai a few months ago thanks to https://skyrefund.com

Not totally helpful but interesting to see

“EC Regulation 261/2004 is a primary piece of European legislation that was created to ensure that the rights of airline passengers were protected in cases of cancellation, long delays and denied boarding. The Regulation is applicable to all flights departing from a European country and to all flights arriving in a European country if that airline is registered in the EU.”

CAA site has the same information but in a clearer form. I did look at the EUclaim paragraph and discern it might not mean what it appeared to say : )

Under EU law, you have significant rights on many flights to, from or within the European Union. The information on this page is only relevant to flights covered by this law. To be covered, your flight must be either:
– departing from an EU airport and operated by any airline, or
-arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline

Now of slightly more interest was whether your flight was on a code-sharing aircraft which may be meaningful. I was struck by this list of airlines and its lack of Etihad. The lesson must be that you should always travel on an airline that is subject to the rules. Perhaps Which? will highlight this important feature.
In the meantime it may be looking at the Montreal Convention for any redress.


I think you have highlighted a very important issue, flying from or into the EU with an airline that is not registered in the EU can get away with riding rough shod over their customers if they decide to cancel or change flights or even have flight delays. These airlines, ie,Etihad, fly daily from many airports in Europe, and can “c**k a snook ” or put finger to nose,if any flight delays or cancellations happen,knowing they can do so without accepting any responsibility for their actions .
The CAA must take responsibility for this imbalance and should, if they do their job properly, fix it.

We have just had a letter from ryanair agreeing to pay 1600 euros for our flight delay for family of 4. however we also claimed for a taxi fare from Malaga (where we landed) to Sevilla (where we were supposed to have landed, but because of the delay the airport was shut). they have not said they will pay this, even though their representative at Malage said we could do this as there were more than 3 of us and they could not lay on coaches for everyone.

This depends on whether the taxi fare is included in the flight delay compensation. Did those passengers who were taken by coach get the same compensation per head as you did? If so you have a case.

I do not know if anyone eventually went by coach. We were told that there would only be one coach for the whole plane and that it would not be available until later in the morning. (We arrived at about 4am in Malaga instead of midnight in Seville).

Given only one coach later, the next suggestion was that people instead caught taxis to the railway station to catch a train to Seville that was leaving in a few hours. However someone pointed out that there was no guarantee that there would be over 100 seats on the train and once we had left the airport we would not be in contact if an alternative was needed, so I don’t think anyone did that.

The second suggestion was that people could arrange their own car-hire. However we had already arranged for a hire car in Seville , did not want to drive a long distance on very little sleep and the only hire company available was Gold Car which have a very poor reputation. some people did this.

Some people with young children were told they could go to a hotel and be compensated. However we wanted to get to our hotel in Seville as soon as possible as we had timed tickets for a popular attraction as soon as it opened that morning.

Finally the airline representative said we could get taxis if there were at least 3 in a taxi. We are a family of 4 and took another passenger. We enquired whether anyone else wanted to go with us, but he was the only taker for our taxi, although perhaps other people got other taxis.? We paid the complete taxi fare and arrived about 9am in Seville (not midnight as contracted.)

AS i understand it the compensation is just for the delay. My contract with Ryan Air was to go to Seville. and their representative told us we could catch a taxi and we would be reimbursed.

It seems to me that you do have a good case to claim reimbursement of the whole taxi fare from Ryanair as they failed to provide onward transport to your booked destination. That was an additional expense. You complied with the company’s conditions and your journey was authorised by their representative at Malaga. Good luck.