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What compensation will I get if I miss my flight?

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Miss your flight because of traffic on the motorway or delays on public transport? Find out what compensation you might be entitled to.

Travel delays are the last thing we want when we set off on holiday. But unfortunately, things happen that are completely out of our control.

The good news is your travel insurer will likely compensate you if you miss your flight. Policies vary though, so check with your insurance company.

Here, Rebecca Brown of insurer AXA, explains what compensation you should be entitled to:

Missed initial international outbound flights because of train delays/cancellations

This is where the “missed departure” cover in most travel insurance policies should kick in – so long as you were travelling by public transport. Insurers will usually pay for the customer to board a later flight of the same class (i.e. if you’ve booked economy, you won’t be reimbursed for first class tickets). The value of the cover will vary, but up to £1,000 is not unusual. Again, get confirmation of the issues faced to send in with any potential claim.

Missed flights because of problems on the road

If you were driving to the airport, and were unable to get there on time because of something like a fallen tree, you will need to provide evidence of the delay; the motoring organisations such as the AA or RAC can help here. In some instances, insurers will also pay out under the ‘missed departure’ section if your own vehicle breaks down, is involved in an accident or is stuck in a traffic jam, but cover does vary so please check.

Flight cancellations

Travellers have an automatic right to a refund from their airline if the airline cancels the flight, or they can choose to be rerouted to their destination. For delays of more than two hours for short-haul flights, airlines must provide food, drinks and even accommodation if the delay runs overnight. For medium-haul flights, the delay must be three hours, and for long-haul, four hours. If you have been delayed for more than five hours, and no longer wish to travel, you are entitled to a full refund from your airline. If you are a transfer passenger, your airline should provide you with a return flight back to your departure point. For more information, visit the Civil Aviation Authority’s website:

You are entitled to financial compensation under European Law if you are denied boarding, your flight is cancelled, or if it arrives more than three hours late to its destination for flights within the EU. For journeys of a distance of 1,500km or less you are entitled to €250. For journeys over 2,500km this figure is €400. For flights between an EU airport and a non-EU airport you are entitled the same sums above and for distances of over 3,500km the figure increases to €600. However, if the airline offered you another flight with a similar schedule, the compensation may be reduced by 50 per cent. More information can be found on the website.

You cannot claim additional financial compensation from the airline if the delay or cancellation is caused by bad weather. However, most travel insurance policies include some kind of cover for delayed departures, so long as the flight is international not domestic. The cover usually comes into force after a delay of six, eight or 12 hours and is intended to compensate the traveller for the extra expenses they may incur while waiting for their flight, such as for meals and drinks. Typical cover may be a payment of £20 for each insured person after a six-hour delay, with further payments being triggered for additional six-hour periods spent waiting to take-off.

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