Delayed flights

Many of us will be with family when waiting around for a delayed flight and in many cases, you may just have to wait. However, if the hours stretch on, it’s worth making sure you know what compensation you’re entitled to.

Before setting off on your trip, check to see what your airline may provide if your flight is delayed. This might include food and drink vouchers while EU regulations may also entitle you to compensation. You can also check to see what level of cover you can expect under any travel insurance policy.

Protection under EU regulation

EU regulation could entitle you to compensation if your flight is delayed by more than two hours. Crucially, the delay must be caused by circumstance within the airline’s control, and could include:

  • Technical issues which arise as a result of the air carrier’s failure to maintain its aircraft
  • Inadequate turnaround and flight times begin allocated to the aircraft due to poor planning by the airline

Circumstances outside of the airline’s control (commonly referred to as ‘extraordinary circumstances’) will not entitle you to compensation. Comprehensive details on what qualifies as an extraordinary circumstance can be found in this helpful list from the Civil Aviation Authority.

If the flight delay is expected to go beyond a certain point, these regulations make sure the airline is obligated to offer you assistance. Anyone travelling with a non-EU based airline flying from a non-EU destination will not receive the same cover. It might be worth familiarizing yourself with the airline’s Condition of Carriage to see what compensation you could be entitled to should any issues arise. These can usually be found on the airline’s website.

Denied Boarding Regulations

If you’re travelling with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU based airline flying from an EU airport, then you will be protected by the Denied Boarding Regulations.

The Denied Boarding regulation applies if:

  • You have confirmed the booking
  • You checked in on time
  • You’re departing from an EU airport or from a non-EU airport and flying into an EU airport on an airline with its headquarters and main place of business within the EU, including all European discount airlines.

Challenging the airline

If you don’t agree with an airline’s assessment of an ‘extraordinary circumstances’, for example if you are told you can’t fly due to weather conditions while other flights are departing, it could be worth stating your case for compensation. The Civil Aviation Authority can offer further assistance should you feel unfairly treated.

Protection under Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance

In the event that your departure is delayed by more than 12 hours, you decide to abandon your trip because of a delay of at least 12 hours or you miss your departure through no fault of your own, your Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance could provide a financial benefit or even cover the cost of your trip, up to the amount shown in your policy documents. This could include accommodation costs and any pre-booked excursions.

Again, conditions do apply and you’ll find the full list in section 5 of the policy documents. For example, you must get written confirmation from the airline detailing the reason for the delay and stating the scheduled and actual departure times.

This guide aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this guide. All information correct at date of publication [03/05/2018].

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is underwritten by ETI International Travel Protection, the UK branch of Europäische Reiseversicherung (ERV) AG, which is registered at Companies House FC 25660, branch registration BR 007939. ERV is authorised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BAFIN - and the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Europäische Reiseversicherung (ERV) AG’s reference number is 220041 and registered address is Plantation Place, 30 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3AJ.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Hood Travel Limited, registered at Companies House 08318836. Hood Travel is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 597211. Hood Travel Limited’s registered address is at 1st Floor Maitland House, Warrior Square, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2JY.