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Storm Ciara: your refund, cancellation and compensation rights

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Storm Ciara unleashed her power over the weekend with winds of 70mph and torrential rain grounding flights, causing rail travel chaos and leaving thousands of homes without power.

The Met Office has launched a yellow weather warning with wind and snow expected in the north and Scotland, snow and ice in mid-England and strong winds for the south of the country.

Travellers are urged to take care if hitting the roads but it’s likely there’ll be continued delays and cancellations to road, rail, air and ferry transport.

Flight delay and cancellations

Airports are telling passengers to check flights with airlines and British Airways said it is assessing every flight as it balances safety with getting flyers to their destinations as quickly as it can.

It said it has introduced flexible re-booking options for all customers on domestic and European flights due to depart today. Those flying shorthaul to/from Heathrow or Gatwick can re-book the date of travel to another flight to the same destination to another time until Thursday 13 February.

Those who booked directly should contact British Airways or get in touch with thier travel agent to reschedule flights. If your flight has been cancelled, don’t travel to the airport.

BA is working to secure hotel accommodation for customers, but said due to high demand, it may not be able to offer an overnight stay. Flyers can book their own accommodation and BA says it will refund reasonable expenses for overnight stays, meals and phone calls – just make sure to keep your receipts.

Ryanair says some flights have been disrupted and cancelled, adding that all affected customers have been contacted by email and text message and advised of their options: a full refund, re-booking on to the next available flight or transferring to an alternative flight.

Under EU regulations, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, you may be entitled to meals, refreshments, phone calls and email, plus overnight accommodation, depending on the circumstances. However, travellers shouldn’t expect any compensation as the adverse weather is outside of the airlines’ control.

See’s Flight delay and cancellation rights guide for more information.

Rail travel

National Rail says routes across England, Wales and Scotland are affected and it is now assessing the repairs needed to the railway following damage caused by the storm.

Travel advice is being added to each train operator’s page – see the National Rail Enquiries real-time Journey Planner which is updated as train operators confirm their service.

For example, the Northern train service is facing flooding and line closures while Southern is running a reduced service and is clearing a tree on the line.

Customers who were unable to travel on Sunday 9 February will receive a full refund or the tickets can be used today. You may also be entitled to compensation if you experience a delay in completing your journey today. Passengers should keep their train ticket and make a note of their journey, as both will be required to support any claim.

See’s Delay repay compensation guide for more information.

Damage to property

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said insurers will do everything they can to help homeowners and businesses recover from the storm as quickly as possible.

Home buildings, contents and commercial business policies cover storm damage. For those who have suffered damage to property, you should only return to your home or business when it is safe to do so. If your home is unsafe, your insurer should be able to arrange temporary alternative accommodation.

The ABI urged customers to contact their home or commercial insurer as soon as possible. Most will have 24-hour emergency helplines to ensure customers get advice on what to do and arrange repairs as quickly as possible.

If necessary, arrange temporary emergency repairs to stop any damage getting worse.
Tell your insurer and keep any receipts, as this will form part of your claim.

The ABI warned people not to rush to throw away damaged items (unless they’re a danger to health), as they may be able to be repaired or restored.

If your home is uninhabitable while repairs are being carried out, your insurer will arrange for and pay the cost of any alternative temporary accommodation you may need.

For those who’ve suffered damage to their cars, the ABI said comprehensive motor insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing vehicles damaged by storms.

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