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Both flights on my return trip to Dublin were delayed a total of three hours. Am I entitled to any compensation?


Are there rules on compensation for combined delays in a round trip?

My return journey from London Gatwick to Dublin Airport with Ryanair was delayed a combined total of three hours when factoring in delays on the outbound flight from Dublin and the outbound flight to London on return.

I have noticed in recent months that my outbound and inbound flights never take off on time as scheduled: they are always delayed by at least an hour each, and sometimes more, which can add up to a total of three hours of delays for the outbound and outward journey.

Fed up: Delays on both flights of a round trip can add up to a total of three hours of waiting

Smaller delays like this for the flight out of the UK and back add up, but passengers are given no reason other than ‘a delay with the arriving plane before their flight has meant their flight is delayed’.

Sometimes on a later flight to London I get stranded because the last train has left when we land on the runway leaving no choice but to pay for a taxi home. Via email

Helen Kirrane of This is Money responds: Whether or not you receive compensation for a delayed flight depends on the length of the delay, the distance of the flight, and the countries between which you are traveling.

You are entitled to compensation if your flight is more than three hours late and it’s the airline’s fault, but this is for a single leg, not a combination of entry delay and departure delay, like you experienced.

Charity Citizens Advice advises that for flights traveling a distance of less than 1,500km, which would have been your flight to Dublin (484km in fact), your arrival will need to have been delayed by two hours in order to receive any compensation.

In general, there is nothing you can do for an hour or a 90 minute delay, which was your return flight. Two hours is the minimum amount of time airlines need to start taking care of you.

However, her outbound flight was close, arriving an hour and 55 minutes later than it was supposed to.

If your flight is delayed three hours for a flight that travels between 1,500 km and 3,500 km, or four hours for a flight that travels more than 3,500 km, your airline has to give you food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you are delayed overnight, and travel between the airport and the hotel.

Delay time and distance required for the airline to assist you
flight distance How much does the delay have to be?
Less than 1,500km 2 hours
Between 1,500km and 3,500km 3 hours
More than 3,500 km 4 hours
Source: Citizen Council

The airline might give you vouchers to get these things at the airport. Ask someone who works for the airline if they don’t offer to help.

If you don’t get help at the airport, save the receipts for the expenses and try to claim the airline later. Airlines only pay for “reasonable” expenses: you’re unlikely to get paid back for booze, expensive meals, or fancy hotels.

Jane Hawkes, an independent consumer advocate, responds: ‘Flight compensation is applicable if the airline is at fault and the delay caused by the flight means that you arrive at your destination more than three hours late.

But the important thing is the arrival time. You may be three hours and 15 minutes late in departure, but if the flight lands two hours and 55 minutes late, no compensation will be paid.

‘The amount claimable per person depends on the distance of the flight and the length of the delay. Airlines are not required to offer compensation for delays of less than two hours, regardless of the reason.

They are obliged to keep passengers informed of what is happening. If this occurs frequently, choosing an alternate carrier may be the only option, if available.’

What are you entitled to if your flight is delayed?
Delay in your arrival flight distance Compensation
3 hours or more Less than 1,500km £220
3 hours or more Between 1,500km and 3,500km £350
4 hours or more More than 3,500 km £520
less than 4 hours More than 3,500 km £260
Source: Citizen Council

If your flight has been delayed three or more hours

Helen Kirrane of This is Money responds: You are entitled to compensation if your flight is more than three hours late and it is the airline’s fault, for example if they did not get enough reservations or there was a technical failure.

You are unlikely to get compensation if the delay was due to something outside of the airline’s control, such as bad weather or a security risk.

The compensation you are entitled to depends on the distance of your flight and the length of the delay. You will need to claim the airline to obtain compensation.

Rory Boland, which one? Travel Editor, Answer: “It is unacceptable that chaotic scenes at UK airports have become so common at peak travel times, particularly unexplained flight delays.

“This frustration is often compounded by the fact that some airlines fail to meet their legal obligations to pay compensation or refund or divert passengers, even on rival airlines.

“Flight delays and cancellations are especially unacceptable this year, when travelers have paid a lot of money for their flights.

‘What you are entitled to when you face a disruption is on a per-flight basis, it depends on the distance of your flight, how long it was delayed and the reason for the delay. For most shorter European flights, the airline must provide you with food and drink after a two-hour delay.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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