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Delayed Flight? A Guide to your rights


Picture this: You've done it, you’ve arrived at the airport on time, with a skip in your step and visions of the adventures to come dancing around your head. As you approach the departures board, anticipation peaks... until you spot it — the dreaded "delayed" sign. 

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Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our seven-step guide on what to do if your flight gets delayed.

Check the cause of the delay

Finding out the reason for the delay can give you some peace of mind. Common causes for flight delays include weather, a technical issue, air traffic control problems and operational issues. Remember, the airline staff are there to help and answer your questions, but it is not their fault that there has been a delay so try to avoid directing frustration towards them.

Communicate with your airline

The airline should keep you informed about the cause of the delay and the new estimated departure time. Watch out for updates on the gate screens or at the customer service desk and familiarise yourself with your airline's policies on delays. Airlines often have their own rules and procedures regarding delays. If the delay causes you to incur extra costs, keep receipts. Some airlines may reimburse reasonable expenses.

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European Union (EU) regulations (for flights departing from or arriving into the EU)

If you’re flying with an EU-based airline or departing from an EU airport, you should know your rights as you may be entitled to compensation under EU regulations. Compensation depends on the length of the delay, the distance of the flight and whether the delay was within the airline's control. The maximum compensation a person may get is €600.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rules

In the United States, airlines are not required to provide compensation for delayed flights. However, the DOT mandates that airlines must offer certain amenities like food, water and restroom access during extended delays. Remember, you are entitled to a refund if the airline cancels your flight or makes a significant change in the flight even if you choose not to accept the alternative offered.

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Rebooking options

Airlines usually provide rebooking options for delayed flights. You can generally do this yourself through the airline’s app but if you’re not given the option, be sure to ask their customer service representative. If the options your airline is providing are not suitable for your needs, you can always ask them to try and rebook you with another airline. This is not guaranteed to work, but it might be an option depending on the airline.

Travel insurance

Not sure if you need travel insurance? Discover some of the benefits of taking out Travel Insurance. If you do have Travel Insurance, check if it covers delayed flights. Some policies may provide compensation for additional expenses or trip interruptions due to delays. Many insurers require a certain amount of time (usually 12 hours) to have passed before they will cover your delayed flight so be sure to read your policy documents thoroughly to understand what’s included.

File a complaint

If you believe you are entitled to compensation and the airline has not provided it, you can file a complaint with the airline. The best way to find out how to file a complaint is to check the specific airline’s website, read their terms and conditions of flying and make note of everything you need to make a complaint, including all relevant details and documentation.

Remember that specific regulations and policies can vary, so it's important to check with your airline and relevant authorities for the most accurate and up-to-date information. This delay is just an extra chapter in your adventure. Embrace it, adapt to it and soon enough, you'll be back on track. Safe travels!

An Post Insurance Travel Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Chubb European Group SE.

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