News item

volcanic dust rights

Passengers whose flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the volcanic dust blown over to the UK from Iceland have the following rights under the Regulation 261/2004 Air Passenger Rights.

* Consumers in this instance are entitled to a refund or re-routing if the flight is cancelled;
* If re-routing is offered from an alternative location, the airline shall bear the cost of transferring;
* In the event of re-routing, the consumer is entitled to meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation (if necessary), transport between airport and accommodation, two free telephone calls, faxes or e-mails;
* In the event of delay, where the delay is over two hours, they are entitled to refreshments, hotel accommodation, transport and telephone calls etc.;
* If the delay is over five hours, consumers are also entitled to a refund or re-routing.

In cases of ‘extraordinary circumstances’like this one, which are beyond the airlines’ control, consumers are not entitled to compensation that they would otherwise be entitled to by law, which would range from 125 EUR per person to 600 EUR per person depending on the length of the journey and the length of the delay to the final destination.  If the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances (severe weather, strikes, political unrest etc) which cannot be avoided by the airline even if all reasonable measures are taken the airline is not obliged to pay this compensation.

In addition the legislation does not allow consumers to claim damages for any consequential losses such as transfers, car hire, hotel accommodation etc. 

Consumers are advised to check with their travel insurance as they may be entitled to more under their individual policies.

For further advice UK passengers travelling with a UK airline should contact Consumer Direct by visiting http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/ or phoning  0845 4040506, other passengers can contact the UK European Consumer Centre, hosted by the Trading Standards Institute, by visiting http://www.ukecc.net/default.asp or phoning 08456 04 05 03.