Security chaos at many airports across the UK and Europe has been well-documented in recent weeks. Bristol Airport was described as an ‘utter shambles’ this week as people queued out of the door. The airport has since apologised, blaming passenger numbers and staff shortages.
Over the last decade Bristol airport has been one of the country’s fastest growing. The three most popular destinations from Bristol airport are Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh. It’s also ideally situated for visitors to visit popular destinations including the Cotswolds, the World Heritage City of Bath, Stonehenge, Devon and Cornwall. In 2016 around 7.6 million passengers travelled through the airport.
But what happens if you miss your flight – whether through airport delays or for other reasons? We have written this guide to act as a reminder of your rights. Here’s everything you need to know.
Read more:Bristol Airport ranked as worst in UK for 2022 in new study
Can I claim compensation if I miss a flight due to airport delays?
Queues at the security check are the responsibility of the airport rather than your airline and therefore an airline isn’t liable to pay compensation or refund you if you miss your flight because of long queues at security.
Bristol Airport does not have a policy to compensate passengers who have missed flights because of long security queues, according to Which?. In law, passengers could possibly claim frustrated contract and argue the airport is at fault for them missing their flight – but this would almost certainly require going to court.
However, some passengers have reported long queues at check in desks and bag drop at airports and this is the responsibility of the airline, even if it has outsourced the service to a third party. If you have arrived at airport at the time you were instructed to by the airline and miss your flight because the queue at check-in or bag drop was too long you may be able to claim against the airline under the consumer rights act. Again, this is unlikely to be straightforward and may involve a court case.
Some travel insurance policies include cover for missed departures but not all will cover you for those missed departures when they’re caused by long airport queues.
What are my rights if I arrive late to Bristol Airport
Bristol airport is part of a handful of airports worldwide that have stopped making flight announcements over the speakers. No final calls and no call-outs can result in a missed flight for already late passengers. Staff shortages can also mean some people spend more time than planned at check-in and miss their flight.
Unfortunately, if you’ve arrived late at the airport at your own fault the airline won’t be forced to provide you with a replacement flight and you will need to purchase a new ticket. In some cases missing a flight will not be your fault. Flights can be cancelled for numerous reasons and the European Commission has confirmed airlines must give passengers a choice between travel vouchers or reimbursement of the ticket in the case of a cancelled flight.
According to the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation , you’re entitled to compensation when the flight arrives at its destination three or more hours late. You’re also eligible if your flight is cancelled and you were informed less than 14 days before departure, or the airline overbooked your flight and they couldn’t find a seat for you.
Last but not least if you’ve missed your connecting flight because the previous plane landed three or more hours late. In the case of a delayed flight over two hours or your flight has been cancelled, you will be provided with free drinks and food.
What do Easyjet, Ryanair, Jet2 and TUI say about flight compensation?
Contact your airline as soon as you know you’re likely to miss your flight. A handful of flag carriers will simply put you on the next flight at no extra cost.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will try and rebook you without charge. But it’s not so straightforward with budget airlines.
Jet2 say compensation is potentially payable under Regulation EC261 if your flight’s arrival has been delayed for more than three hours, the flight has been cancelled, or you have been denied boarding. If you want to make a claim, please fill out the form below. But they warn: “We are working extremely hard to deal with the unprecedented situation arising from the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe and ensure that affected customers receive all appropriate support and assistance. However, in line with the advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority, delays and/or cancellations arising from circumstances relating to COVID-19 will be treated as extraordinary circumstances and therefore not eligible for compensation under Regulation EC261/2004. “
TUI says: “You may be eligible for compensation if your flight’s delayed over three hours. The delay duration’s calculated on the time that one of the aircraft doors is opened at your scheduled destination airport. But, not all flights delayed over three hours are eligible – it depends on the circumstance of the delay. If it’s caused by ‘extraordinary’ circumstances – think bad weather or an air traffic control strike – and the airline has taken ‘all reasonable measures’ to reduce the delay, then you won’t be entitled to compensation.”
Some airlines, like easyJet, offer ‘rescue fares’ that allow you to rebook for a fee. To take advantage of this you will usually need to have been at the airport two hours before your scheduled departure time. You should contact the airline immediately for help.
Ryanair charges £100 per passenger to rebook a missed flight. Still, this is likely to be cheaper than rebooking on the same day.
How do I make a claim?
You will need to ensure you have a valid compensatory claim. The airline operating the flight will need to be contacted and you will most likely be referred to the customer services department. You can also make your claim with an independent organisation who will do most of the hard work for you.