Thousands of people have been stranded at airports after British Airways flights to the US were delayed due to a technical glitch.
Chaos ensues as passengers try to fly home for Christmas, with the airline blaming a glitch with a “third-party flight planning provider”.
British Airways said the issue had been resolved, but passengers have already had to wait several hours inside airports, with some saying they only waited on planes to be escorted to the departure hall.
If your plans have been affected, what can you do?
What are my rights if my flight has been delayed?
To be eligible for statutory compensation, a passenger must have arrived in the UK or the EU on a UK or EU airline, such as British Airways, or left the UK on any airline. The delay must have been the fault of the airline.
If the journey was 1,500km (932 miles) or less and was delayed for three hours or more, customers can claim £220. This rises to £350 for flights between 1,500km and 3,500km and for all journeys over 3,500km, the payout is £520.
If the flight is five hours late, customers are entitled to a full refund within seven days, provided they do not catch their flight. If they do fly, they can still claim up to £520 providing the delay is due to the fault of the airline.
Customers are only entitled to these payments if the cancellations are not due to “extraordinary circumstances”, meaning situations over which the airline had no control, such as bad weather and terrorist alerts.
What are my rights if my flight has been cancelled?
If a flight is cancelled, passengers are entitled to a full refund or a replacement flight to get you to your destination. The Citizens Advice charity advises that if a passenger is midway through a journey and does not wish to take a replacement flight, they are entitled to a return flight to their original departure airport.
Passengers also have a legal right to help with “reasonable expenses” if a cancellation results in delays of more than two hours for flights of less than 1,500km, three hours for distances between 1,500km and 3,500km and four hours for flights over 3,500km . km.
These costs may include food and drinks, access to phone calls, lodging in case of an overnight delay, and transportation between the airport and hotel. Airline staff may give you vouchers for these, but be sure to keep all receipts and proof of payment.
Can I request a refund for the cost of a flight with another airline?
In some cases yes, but this tactic is risky. If the airline doesn’t offer a suitable alternative flight, you can try to rebook with a competitor and have the original airline reimburse you as an expense.
But the consumer group Which? only recommends it once all other options have been exhausted.
It warned that requesting an alternative flight with another airline could only work if the reason for travel was “exceptionally time-sensitive”, such as a funeral, job interview or the wedding of a close relative. A claim can also be successful if you have to wait more than a couple of days for the rescheduled flight offered by the original airline.
Which? he said: “Importantly, do not cancel your existing booking, this will leave you in a much stronger position to request a refund of the cost of your rerouted flight.”
A British Airways spokesperson said: “Our teams have now resolved a temporary glitch that affected some of our long-haul flight planning systems overnight, resulting in delays to our schedule. We are sorry for the disruption this has caused to our customers’ travel plans.