Going on a half term holiday? Be prepared. As the holiday period approaches, Flight Delay Pay share our top travel and flight tips.

We’ve heard countless stories from passengers when things go wrong and we thought as the holiday period approaches it would be helpful to share our tips for a smooth mini break.

– How To Have a Smooth Airport Experience – Top Tips
– Delays at European Airports
– My Flight Time Has Changed – What Can I Do?
– What To Do if Your Flight is Delayed?
– We Can Help

How To Have a Smooth Airport Experience – Top Tips

The Airport can be a stressful environment so be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Choose a flight at a quieter time of the day. Queues at Airports are not a good start.  It is recommended to fly on a Tuesday as this is the least likely to suffer from delays Thursday being the worst.
  • Choose a destination that is not listed in the top five routes for the worst delays which includes Malaga, Paris, Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam.
  • Ticketing ensure you have the correct documents before you leave for the Airport. Do not leave it until you arrive at the airport to request ticket alterations.
  • Check the baggage allowance.
  • Try to go away with just hand luggage. Remember that is usually one bag each but the kids can have an adult size backpack.
  • Check passports and ensure you have at least six months still to run on your passport on the date you return from your trip.
  • Arrive at the airport in plenty of time. Check the airlines website for their current recommendations with regard to wen you should arrive and any special notes regarding your destination.
  • Consider using priority security for a small payment.
  • Security – Dress appropriately for security – sensible slip on shoes – remove jewellery, put your belts and small change ready to go in the tray together with phones and laptops. Girls should leave the high heels for another day.
  • Go to the Gate in good time. Often this is quite a walk so get there in good time. The facilities are not so varied but at least it can be quiet.
  • Security at European destinations has increased. New regulations have led to delays so be prepared and take something to do whilst you wait.

Delays at European Airports

Following a spate of terrorist acts at European destinations have meant that they have increased their security operations. Countries in the Schengen zone have decided to introduce new checks on entry and exit.  This means checks are made against databases – these include Interpol’s record of stolen and lost travel documents and the Schengen information system.  The Schengen group of countries is made up of the following: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland

My Flight Time Has Changed – What Can I Do?

The first thing to note is that a change of time is not a cancellation it is a schedule change.  If the flight number changes then it is classified as a cancellation.  These changes should be notified to passengers at least 14 days prior to the flight. If the notification is less than 14 days then you will be entitled to a refund. If the flight is cancelled then you will be entitled to compensation in accordance with EU261/2004 regulations.

If you are notified of the alteration in advance of 14 days then there is very little you can do. Some Airlines allow you to re-book but often you will incur charges.
Why Do Airlines Change Flight Times?
Airlines sell tickets in advance but do not finalise their flight slots at airports until approximately three months before the flight.  This is just in case things change such as weather problems, strikes, aircraft issues and other considerations. What this means is that when they come to finalise their slots there may be a change but usually only a few minutes or in some cases hours.  Airlines build this into their terms and conditions. This means you cannot claim for lost car hire or hotel bookings. Please ensure the airline has your up to date e-mail address as that is how they will advise you of an alternation. This is particularly important if you have booked your ticket so that it connects with another flight

“Airlines have no responsibility for any losses you may incur through schedule changes, says the CAA”

What To Do if Your EU Flight is Delayed

The first thing is to remember your flight details, in particular the booking reference number.  This is allocated to your reservation and is likely to be a six digit/alpha code. This allows the airline to look up your details when making a claim.

Find out why the flight has been delayed.  If the reason is beyond the control of the airline then they do not have to pay compensation. This may be more difficult than it seems since the ground crew often have not been told but the flight crew are likely to know so ask when you board.  Try to avoid accepting statements such as operational difficulties.

Keep records.  Your claim will depend on whether you can demonstrate the plane was more than three hours late upon arrival. The time to note is when they open the doors not when you manage to get off or when the flight lands.

After a two hour delay you will be entitled to meals and refreshments.  They usually hand out vouchers but not all venues take these and they are rarely sufficient to cover the costs of a sandwich.  Get yours first so that you can spend it before the vendors decide not to accept vouchers

Don’t accept Air Miles in lieu of compensation. This is never a good deal. So don’t sign anything where you waive your rights to compensation.

You are only entitled to compensation if you join a flight which is more than three hours late. .If you decide not to join a late flight then the airline will not be liable to pay compensation.  You are not entitled to decide not to travel and seek compensation until the flight is at least five hours late. You may then ask for compensation and a full refund in addition to a return flight to your original destination if applicable.

To find out more about your rights as an airline passenger who has been subjected to a delay or cancellation, read the information provided on the following page: Your Rights.

What To Do Next

Claiming Flight Delay Compensation can be complicated so we recommend using a specialist.  Go to FlightDelayPay.com and register your claim here.  If you need any further help you can chat online or call our help line +44 (0) 1342 889777

Flight Delay Pay is a team of travel and legal professionals with vast knowledge and many years of experience working with European Passenger Rights. We work with airlines and passengers all over the world and take on claims up to 6 years back. We understand your pain, so let us take the strain and handle your claim. No win, no fee!