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As British Airways passengers faced long delays due to an IT glitch at check-in desks around the world CWF presents facts about your rights to compensation:

A delay to your holiday flight brings you down like nothing else – but whose fault is it and what can you do about it?

Here’s a point few people are aware of – If you are delay because of a strike, your airline has an obligation to offer you assistance if the delay is expected to go beyond a certain point but they do not owe you compensation, because the action isn’t there fault. However, the assistance they offer should include food and drink and overnight accommodation.

Unlike delays for other reasons, airlines are not obligated to offer compensation following a strike because strikes are usually considered to be ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

Airlines tend to rely on ‘extraordinary circumstances’ to try and avoid paying up – extraordinary circumstances  include adverse weather conditions and strikes.

Interestingly, however, a European Court of Justice ruling on 4 October 2012 states that airlines should compensate passengers if they’re denied boarding because of a strike after the strike takes place.  Basically. if there are still delays or cancellations after a  strike, compensation would be payable.

Under general rules, listed in the Denied Boarding Regulations, you’re entitled to compensation for all sorts of things but the amount depends on the length of the flight delay and the distance of your flight.

You’re entitled to the following if you fit one of the categories below: 

  • two free phone calls, faxes or e-mails
  • free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay
  • free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required


  • if a flight under 932 miles (for example, London to Venice) is delayed for at least two hours
  • if a flight within the EU that is more than 932 miles (for example, London to Athens) is delayed for at least three hours
  • if a flight that isn’t within the EU but is between 932 and 2,174 miles is delayed for at least three hours
  • if any other flight is delayed for at least four hours.


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Consumer Watch Foundation

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