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Over a million flyers suffer severe delays

11 September 2018 07:25

1.3m passengers faced severe delays

1.3m passengers faced severe delays

As many as 1.3 million passengers endured severe flight delays in the last year, a new study reveals.

According to the study by Which? more than 13,000 flights to or from UK airports were delayed by at least three hours in the 12 months leading up to June 2018.

Broken down, this equates to nearly 3,500 passengers a day.

Severe delays

The report shows the airlines with the highest percentage of severely delayed long-haul flights were Norwegian (2.4%), Thomas Cook (1.8%) and TUI (1.6%).

For short-haul flights, the carriers with the most severe delays were Icelandair (1.7%), Aurigny (1.6%) and TUI (1.4%).

The figures are based on Which? analysis of Civil Aviation Authority punctuality data and cover airlines with at least 1,825 UK flights per year, excluding arrivals to the UK from non-European Union based carriers.

Under EU regulations, passengers are entitled to compensation if they are delayed by more than three hours when flying from the UK or with an EU airline to an EU airport.

Passengers can claim payouts worth between £220 and £360 for short-haul flights, and up to £535 for longer flights, depending on the length of delay.

Airlines are only exempt from paying compensation if they can prove the delay or cancellation was caused by "extraordinary circumstances" such as extreme weather or airport strikes.


Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: "Severe delays can be a complete nightmare and totally wreck a long-awaited trip abroad, especially if it means you're stuck in an airport terminal for hours on end.

"Passengers are often entitled to compensation when airlines get it wrong.

"It is vital that automatic compensation is introduced across the industry so that people no longer have to jump through hoops to get what they are owed."

A spokesman for industry body Airlines UK said: "Long delays affect only a minority of overall journeys and are often due to factors outside of an airline's control.

"When things do go wrong, compensation can easily be claimed directly from an airline when due, and UK airlines have an excellent record of compliance with the rules on compensation and assistance."

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