Advice has been issued to holidaymakers facing long delays and cancellations as chaos at airports around the UK continues into the bank holiday weekend.
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled this week and larger than normal queues were seen at Scottish airports.
The chaos comes following staff shortages in the aviation industry after thousands of workers were let go during the Covid pandemic.
Guidance has been published for travellers by Advice Direct Scotland, which runs the national consumeradvice.scot service, to make them aware of their rights and what they are entitled to if their flights are cancelled or if they are held up for lengthy periods.
The charity said protection is offered by the ‘Denied Boarding Regulation’ or ‘EU Regulation 261/2004’ if their delayed or cancelled flight was booked with a UK or European airline, departed from the UK or Europe.
It said customers facing delays of two hours or more for short haul flights may be entitled to assistance including free meals and refreshments and free accommodation or hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required.
For medium haul flights of two to four hours, the delay must be three hours or more to claim compensation, rising to four hours for long haul journeys.
If the delay lasts longer than five hours, customers may be able to choose between being rerouted on a different flight or getting a refund.
Compensation can only be claimed if the delay is not due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as severe weather, long security queues, security risks, unlawful acts and strikes by non-airline staff like baggage handlers.
For EU regulated flights that are cancelled, and where ‘extraordinary circumstances’ do not apply, customers can ask for a refund or choose to take an alternative flight.
Compensation can be claimed where less than 14 days’ notice was given for the cancellation. The amount will vary but usually starts at €125.
Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “With flights being cancelled and delayed by airlines it is important for people to understand their rights in relation to the refunds, compensation and assistance they are entitled to, and how to go about claiming it.
“We have published an overview of some of the most commonly-asked questions on our website.
“We also have a team of expert advisors on hand to offer free, practical and importation advice and information about delayed or cancelled flights, and on a range of other consumer-related issues.
“You can contact consumeradvice.scot on 0808 164 6000.”
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