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Flight Delay Compensation: Find out when you are entitled to claim compensation for problems with your flight and baggage

Flight delay compensation: on this page you will see the rights international law provides to UK citizens when a flight delay or baggage delay or loss is seen to occur.

What is the law which applies to your rights in the event of a delayed or cancelled flight?

The Montreal Convention is the international law which applies to international flights which provides for compensation in the event of passenger delay, baggage delay, loss or damage.

Click aircraft accident to see the page I have written explaining when a flight is considered to be international and not domestic.

Flight delay compensation

flight delay compensation image

What is considered as passenger delay?

Delay of passengers is normally calculated simply by reference to the flight schedule. Simply compare the expected flight departure time on booking and the expected arrival time at the final destination If the flight arrives later then timetabled - delay is seen to have occurred.

Is flight cancellation also a delay?

If a flight is cancelled this is not considered delay or if there is a reason for a delayed flight such as snow on the runway - in UK law this is not considered to be a suitable case for compensation under the Montreal Convention.

When is baggage delay or loss seen to occur?

Baggage delay depends on different criteria than passenger delay. Your baggage is expected to arrive at the same time as you do. Delay in baggage comes when you arrive at your destination and your baggage has not arrived with you.

Of course, baggage loss means that the baggage never arrives

Is there any other protection to UK citizens and European Union citizens for flights within EU countries?

Yes - European law applies additional protection to UK citizens and European citizens for air travel within Europe namely:

1. Flight Cancellation

2. Denied boarding to a flight

3. Flight cancellations

Can a claim for baggage damage be made?

Yes - a carrier is responsible for baggage, which includes checked baggage and also hand baggage.

When can a claim for checked baggage be made?

Once baggage has gone through the checking in process and is the control of the carrier you have the right to compensation for:

1. Damaged baggage

To claim for this a complaint must be made in writing as soon as damage is noticed and no later than 7 days after baggage collected on arrival of aircraft. If no complaint is made within this time frame it is reasonable to presume that the baggage has arrived with no damage so any compensation claim will fail.

If the item is not baggage, but cargo there is a time period of 14 days. Cargo is defined by the receipt and in truth you will know if you have baggage or cargo.

2. Destroyed baggage

No notice in writing is required from the passenger as this is obvious - the baggage has not arrived so normally a verbal complaint will be made immediately.

3. Baggage that has not reached its destination within 21 days of its expected date of arrival.

When the baggage arrives - if it is outside the 21 day period then a complaint in writing must be made within 21 days of the date the baggage is received.

You do not have to prove that the carrier was at fault only that one of the above events has happened. Once again the rule of strict liability or no fault liability applies.

Does strict liability apply to unchecked baggage?

No - a carrier is still responsible for unchecked baggage, but you must prove that the airline is at fault as you have effectively retained control of this baggage by taking it on the aircraft with you.

For example, a carrier is at fault if the luggage compartment breaks causing your hand luggage to fall and be damaged. However, if you fail to close the luggage compartment properly your will likely be responsible for the damage.

What happens if you are carrying cargo on the aircraft?

The Montreal Convention deals slightly differently with cargo than baggage. Most holiday makers and travelers will have baggage - those who have cargo on the plane will know and in any event cargo will ultimately be defined on the receipt from the carrier.

How do you enforce your right to receive flight delay compensation?

Havingthe right to receive compensation and enforcing it are two different things.

The bset approach is to check any holiday insurance you have for legal protection cover so you can have a solicitor enforce you rights.

In the absence of travel insurance - click flight delay compensation to have assistance from the Air Transport User Council.

Flight delay compensation page

On this page you have seen when you can claim compensation for passenger delay and baggage problems.

I recommend you click aircraft compensation to find out when you can claim personal injuries compensation for an accident on a flight.