Passenger Rights: Delay and Cancellation

Can I get a refund if my train, bus or flight is delayed?

 
Passenger Rights: Delays and CancellationOne of the most common annoyances when travelling are certainly delays and cancellations. Although the reasons might be understandable – such as bad weather or a traffic jam – it is still a hassle which is why many customers seek a refund when their service is delayed or even cancelled. We tell you exactly, in which cases you’re entitled to a compensation and how to claim it.

Bus Passenger Rights: Delays and CancellationBus Passenger Rights: Delays and Cancellation

Train Passenger Rights: Delays and CancellationTrain Passenger Rights: Delays and Cancellation

Air Passenger Rights: Delays and CancellationAir Passenger Rights: Delays and Cancellation
 

Bus Passenger Rights: Delays and Cancellation

Bus Passenger Rights: Delays and CancellationWhile in large parts of the EU, compensations for bus passengers in case of delays or cancellations are clearly defined by the Regulation (EU) No 181/2011, the UK successfully filed for an exemption, which will be valid until March 2021. This means that there are no frameworks, which entitle you to some form of compensation if your bus is late or cancelled. However, the individual coach companies’ Terms and Conditions define what happens in such cases. If you’re informed of a longer delay, for instance, it’s likely that you can return your ticket and get a full refund. This should be done rather promptly though as the coach company might have strict deadlines here: With National Express, for instance, the refund claim has to be made within 28 days. Please note, however, that some tickets (e. g. special offers such as National Express Funfares) might be non-refundable, even in case of delays or cancellations.

If you’re on your way from the UK to somewhere in Ireland or mainland Europe, European regulations apply. You are then entitled to a full refund if your bus is more than two hours late. If you’re service is cancelled, then the coach company has to supply another form of transportation or pay for your hotel stay (up to two nights, maximum €80 each). Here’s an overview:

Delay Rightful Compensation (not valid on domestic connections within the UK)
> 90 minutes free snacks and drinks
> 120 minutes Full refund or alternative travel option to original destination
Cancellation If there’s no suitable alternative travel option, the coach company has to pay for your hotel stay (maximum two nights at maximum €80 each)

 

Train Passenger Rights: Delays and Cancellation

Train Passenger Rights: Delays and CancellationIn practice, every train company in the UK makes their own compensation regulations which is why it’s good to check the terms before booking your ticket. In addition, the National Rail Conditions of Travel outline a minimum compensation to which customers are entitled if their train is cancelled or late. Here’s an overview:

  • Single or return ticket (both legs delayed) – 50% of ticket price
  • Return ticket (delay on one trip) – 50% of price paid for the relevant part of journey
  • Season Ticket – see the individual train companies’ Passenger’s Charters

There’s so-called Delay Repay schemes in place in the UK, which means that companies provide online forms where you can easily make a claim to compensation. Sometimes, you can even check online whether you’re entitled to some form of refund. Since 2016, a few companies even offer Delay Repay 15, meaning that travellers can get a small compensation if their train is only 15 minutes late. This is particularly useful for Season Ticket holders on notorious train routes such as Brighton – London. The company Virgin Trains is the first one to offer an automatic Delay Repay scheme. After you’ve booked your ticket, the computer system will automatically see if your train was on time or delayed. The respective compensation is then automatically transferred to the card with which the original ticket was booked.
 

Air Passenger Rights: Delays and Cancellation

Air Passenger Rights: Delays and CancellationWhen it comes to delays or cancellations of air journeys within the EU, then your rights are clearly defined within the Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004. You’re entitled to these rights if you’re on a flight within EU territory or if the flight is operated by an EU-based airline and its destination is an EU airport. You’re not entitled to these rights, however, if you’re using a non-EU airline from a non-EU airport with a European destination, e. g. if you’re on a Qatar Airways flight from Dubai to London.

What happens after Brexit: The implications remain unclear for now. However, even countries not being part of the EU – including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland – accept the Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004. This means that the current legal status quo concerning air passenger rights does not necessarily have to change.

What qualifies as a delay?

  • > 2 hours on a short-haul flight (under 1,500 km)
  • > 3 hours on a medium-haul flight within the EU (under 3,500 km)
  • > 4 hours on a long-haul flight outside the EU (over 3,500 km)

 

Delay Rightful Compensation
Delay (see above) Short-haul flight: €250
Medium-haul flight: €400
Long-haul flight: €600 (if both departure and arrival airport within EU: €400)
Cancellation or overbooking Refund of the ticket
Return flight to the point of original departure at earliest opportunity
Re-routing to original destination at earliest opportunity
Re-routing at a later point in time at customer’s convenience (if seats are available)
 
Additional compensation:
Short-haul flight: €250
Medium-haul flight: €400
Long-haul flight: €600 (if both departure and arrival airport within EU: €400)

 
Note: Extraordinary Circumstances
You’re not entitled to a compensation if delay or cancellation were caused by extraordinary circumstances. These include, for instance, strikes, security risks or extreme weather conditions.