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Flight cancellations, rail strikes and passport issues: your journey questions answered by Simon Calder - Travel Online Tips
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Flight cancellations, rail strikes and passport issues: your journey questions answered by Simon Calder

The summer season getaway is properly underneath method, however for travellers the vary of potential issues appears to be multiplying – with wholesale flights cancellations, a threatened rail strike throughout Britain and persevering with points with post-Brexit crimson tape.

Simon Calder has tackled 11 urgent journey questions in his newest Ask Me Anything.

Flight cancellations and delays

Q: If an airline cancels your flight, how do you truly make it fulfil its statutory obligations to get you to your vacation spot or present a resort? Everything I’m seeing and listening to suggests they merely “hardball” you and do nothing to assist. Better to take possession, e-book your self and reclaim?

Marty 78

A: Even when cancellations are being made on an industrial scale, it’s worthwhile to give the airline each probability to satisfy its obligations underneath the European air passengers’ rights guidelines: to supply another flight as quickly as doable, and resort lodging when you wait. The cancellation message ought to include a rebook hyperlink – although this may look solely on the airline’s personal providers. If another flight on the cancelling service is on the market on the identical day, you will want to simply accept it (or declare a full refund).

Similarly, for resort lodging: there must be a hyperlink on the cancellation message from the airline taking you thru to a room allocation service. If this doesn’t ship, then sure, take possession.

The cancelling service ought to pay all affordable prices related to the journey that it obliged you to take. The key phrase there’s “reasonable”. For instance, in the event you parked your automotive in Manchester however can solely get a flight to Liverpool, it’s incumbent on you to mitigate prices. As an honest rail hyperlink exists, fare £19, a £95 taxi to Manchester airport could be affordable provided that there are 5 or extra within the celebration.

Airlines aren’t obliged to pay for alcohol, clearly – besides inadvertently, within the uncommon case that solely an all-inclusive resort is on the market. Therefore it’s affordable (to make use of that time period once more) for the service to demand itemised bills, and I urge you to as detailed a report as you may; a receipt for a credit-card transaction might properly be rejected.

Q: We are a household of 4. Our flight residence from Palermo to Luton on Tuesday with easyJet was cancelled on Tuesday. No various flights have been supplied by way of the easyJet app – we have been solely supplied a refund or voucher. We simply needed to get residence as quickly as doable so booked our personal flights on Eurowings, from Palermo to London Heathrow by way of Cologne. How do I now declare a refund, reimbursement and compensation? Should I apply for a refund from EasyJet for the cancelled flight first, then do a compensation declare, or ought to I merely declare from journey insurance coverage? I’m so confused.

Kirsty C

A: To begin on the finish of your query: for the overwhelming majority of claims ensuing from easyJet’s wholesale short-notice cancellations, journey insurance coverage is irrelevant: the airline is squarely answerable for paying out for the monetary penalties of its actions. The simple ingredient must be to say the £1,400 resulting from a household of 4 for a flight of that size (over 1,500km) underneath European air passengers’ rights guidelines. Simply fill within the particulars on-line on this link. If the trigger was purely technical or resulting from workers scarcity, there must be no dispute about your entitlement. But if different elements come into play – reminiscent of unhealthy climate someplace in Europe, or an air-traffic management failure – then you could have extra of a battle securing the fee.

Next, recompense in your bills. In the absence of assist from easyJet (who, with a bit of labor, might need been in a position to supply a routing by way of mainland Italy), your answer for getting residence seems completely affordable. A brief-notice reserving just like the one you made, I speculate, most likely value round £200 per individual. Do not at this stage search a refund; as an alternative, in your utility for bills deduct the price of your unique flight from the overall for substitute tickets, lodging and meals.

Q: What are your rights when an airline cancels a flight with greater than 14 days discover. They supply a refund or a flight on a special day, however I’d a lot quite journey on the identical day if I can? Are they obliged to purchase me a ticket on one other airline?

Pete 90

A: According to the Civil Aviation Authority the airline actually should e-book you on a rival airline on the unique day of journey. No compensation payable, thoughts, with two weeks’ discover given.

Q: Our flight residence with easyJet from Venice to Luton was cancelled. They’ve refused to e-book us various lodging and we now have to remain an additional 30 hours right here. Are they accountable for our bills though they declare there are “extraordinary circumstances”?

Grace 126

A: Any airline that cancels a flight should cowl all affordable direct bills. You can subsequently focus on whether or not or not you’re entitled to money compensation on prime.

Q: Would you say that TUI is extra dependable than easyJet for the time being, by way of flights not being cancelled as a lot?

Celine P

A: In phrases of flights being cancelled on a typical day, sure. Tui is taking out six departures day by day (equal to 12 flights) whereas easyJet is grounding round 60. The latter factors out that the overwhelming majority of its flights – 96.5 per cent at the moment – are working usually.

Q: Are easyJet and BA truly paying compensation for the cancelled flights over the past two weeks or will they are saying it was for causes out of their management? I had two flights cancelled every by BA and easyJet however no clarification given as to why – so I concern this is perhaps them being non-committal in terms of paying out compensation.


A: In my expertise, British Airways pays out with out fuss when it accepts it’s accountable. If BA believes it has an “extraordinary circumstances” defence, it can battle any declare. With easyJet, the clue is to have a look at what the airline says when it cancels your flight. In the case of Thursday’s Venice-Luton departure, for instance, easyJet says: “We’re sorry that your flight has been cancelled.

This is due to an industrial action in Italy affecting all Italian staff. The disruption to your flight is outside of our control and is considered to be an extraordinary circumstance.” Now, a lawyer would possibly argue with that defence. But you might be on monitor for compensation when the airline doesn’t say why the flight is cancelled. This morning’s Gatwick-Malaga flight, for instance, says: “We’re really sorry that your flight has been cancelled.

”We perceive that this will likely be disappointing information and we need to make it as straightforward as doable so that you can make new plans, so right here’s every little thing it’s worthwhile to learn about what to do subsequent …”

That is your sign for claiming both £220 (for flights of underneath 1,500km) or £350 (for longer flights).

Q: I’m resulting from fly quickly however not with easyJet or BA. Are different airways cancelling their flights or is it primarily UK-based operators?


A: British Airways and easyJet are method forward of the remaining by way of the proportion of flights cancelled. Ryanair and Jet2 are the most effective performers; on Wednesday 8 June they grounded six and two UK flights respectively, on account of industrial motion in Italy, however this was extremely uncommon. Wizz Air is middling.

Q: My flight from Spain this week arrived 3 hours and quarter-hour late, triggering a compensation declare. For this objective, I’m curious to know what supply the airline trade makes use of to reference arrival instances for flights, please?

Mark 1984

A: For the needs of a declare underneath European air passengers’ rights guidelines, compensation is payable for all arrivals which can be three hours or extra late: £220 for brief flights (as much as 1,500km) and £350 for longer European journeys. Only if “extraordinary circumstances” are accountable can the airline decline a declare – and technical issues and/or workers scarcity aren’t acceptable excuses.

Just to be clear: the delay in departure is irrelevant. So too is the time you need to wait in your baggage. All that counts is the arrival time. So how is the hole between the scheduled and precise instances of arrival calculated? Arrival is just not outlined because the second the wheels contact the runway (although, curiously, this was the measure utilized by the UK authorities when journey restrictions have been both being imposed or eliminated on the top of the coronavirus pandemic).

The aviation trade customary is the arrival time on stand, when the plane involves a halt and the parking brake utilized. This is the airline’s deliberate scheduled time of arrival. But even this measure is just not the one used for the precise second of arrival to be able to make a declare. The European Court of Justice has outlined that key immediate because the time the primary plane door is opened – normally a minute or two after the airplane arrives.

Your specific case must be reduce and dried, since presumably the airplane was nonetheless within the air when three hours ticked by. But if there’s any dispute, then free flight monitoring providers ought to be capable to present the time the plane arrives on stand. Just search on-line for Flightradar24 and the flight quantity. It ought to ship the main points of your journey, together with the touchdown time – which, for the standpoint of a declare is just not the required measure. If you click on on the flight after which drag the airplane image alongside to the tip you need to see the precise time it parked up.

Should you end up straddling that three-hour boundary on a future flight, the most effective plan is to make a remark of the door opening time to the closest second – for instance by recording a voice notice on a cell phone, which can have a time related to it. Then if there’s any dispute, you may produce some proof.

Rail strike

Q: We are resulting from journey from Manchester Airport on 23 June on TransPennine Express. What are our choices if the prepare is cancelled please?

Allan 1950

A: After members of the RMT rail union voted 8:1 in favour of strike motion over jobs, pay and circumstances, their union has known as nationwide rail strikes for 3 dates in late June: 21, 23 and 25 June. The industrial motion entails Network Rail workers and employees with 13 prepare operators, together with Northern Rail and TransPennine Express, the companies serving Manchester airport.

The Rail Delivery Group says: “The rail industry is currently working on implementing its contingency plans to minimise customer disruption as much as possible.

“In the meantime we encourage passengers who need to travel on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June to make alternative travel arrangements, or allow more time to make your journey.”

I feel the final a part of that assertion – “allow more time to make your journey” – provides the deceptive impression {that a} journey between any two stations might be made on the strike day. The actuality will likely be very totally different. Signallers are occurring strike, which drastically reduces the scope for working trains. While managers and certified back-up workers will likely be stepping in, they’re possible to have the ability to cowl solely round 20 per cent of the community – and even then probably for under 12 hours per day, from round 7am to 7pm.

The traces they’ll function would be the fundamental intercity traces from London – the East Coast, West Coast and Great Western routes – plus commuter networks across the massive cities. The variety of trains will rely on the power of the strike amongst prepare operator workers. While Manchester seems prone to be served for a lot of the day with a lowered frequency from London and a few native trains, the standard glorious hyperlinks to the town’s airport is not going to run. It is feasible a skeleton service might function however I’d not financial institution on it.

Rail companies is not going to present various transport. Scheduled coach options will likely be scarce, as will taxis and rental vehicles. My recommendation: journey in the day gone by (although some knock-on disruption can be anticipated) and keep in an airport resort. But greatest e-book swiftly – many different individuals can have the identical concept.

If you might have pre-booked Advance tickets I’m positive it is possible for you to to make use of them at any time the day earlier than.

Q: I’m travelling from London to Chester on Wednesday 22 June – the day in between two of the strikes on Tuesday and Thursday. Will the disruption carry over onto my journey date to the extent that I ought to take into account rebooking for various week? Thanks.


A: Even although it’s clear that the deliberate strike will have an effect on the intervening days, in your place I’d take an opportunity – as long as the journey averted departures very early within the morning or from mid-evening onwards.

Passport issues

Q: In March, Ryanair wrongly denied me boarding on flight to Portugal (incorrect interpretation of EU passport entry guidelines). I submitted a declare on 13 April for all prices misplaced and compensation, however I’ve not obtained a substantive reply. I’m daunted by the prospect of enterprise court docket proceedings by myself. I do know I’m not alone on this concern – is anybody (not me) contemplating beginning a category motion on this matter?

B Belle

A: You are one in every of hundreds of people that have been wrongly denied boarding by airways that utilized incorrect European guidelines on passport validity after Brexit. All the carriers have now adopted the right guidelines, which (as a reminder are):

  • On day of arrival within the EU, is the passport lower than 10 years previous?
  • On the day of departure from the EU, are there three months remaining earlier than the expiry date as written on the passport.

I’m conscious of a variety of claimants, together with attorneys, who’re instigating authorized proceedings towards a variety of airways after they have been wrongly denied boarding. In your place, I’d wait to see the result – and for doable phrase from the Civil Aviation Authority that it’s requiring airways to compensate wronged travellers. I concern the latter is unlikely – as a result of the CAA is a part of the Department for Transport, and deceptive UK authorities recommendation was one cause the airways utilized the flawed guidelines for therefore lengthy.

Ob1 provides: I’m in precisely the identical boat. I ended up travelling by way of Eurostar into the Schengen space after which flying to Portugal from Paris.

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