Q&A: What are my rights if airport delays cause me to miss my flight?

Q&A: What are my rights if airport delays cause me to miss my flight?

The departures hall at Brussels international airport during a general strike in Brussels on Monday.

As the summer travel season officially begins, holidaymakers in Ireland and beyond are starting to feel the pressure due to staffing shortages and strikes, resulting in delays, missed flights and baggage issues.

Dublin Airport Authority (Daa) has said it can’t guarantee Irish holidaymakers won't be caught up in the same chaos which has hit British and European airports this week.

About 5,000 Heathrow passengers had their flights cancelled as a result of staffing issues this week, while similar issues mean Gatwick will be running up to 50 fewer flights a day throughout the summer months, with EasyJet alone cutting 11,000 flights.

Travellers wait in long lines to check in and board flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, on Tuesday. 
Travellers wait in long lines to check in and board flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, on Tuesday. 

After sweeping job cuts and pay cuts when Covid-19 brought travel to a grinding halt, staff across the industry, from pilots to baggage handlers, are asking for pay increases and better working conditions.

Here’s everything you need to know if you happen to get caught up in it all:

When am I entitled to a refund of my missed flight?

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) says if you booked your flight directly with an airline, “you do not have an automatic right to redress from your airline if you do not make it to your flight departure gate on time, even where this was due to security delays within the airport”.

It advises that if you plan to go ahead with your trip, you should contact the airline as soon as possible to discuss the rebooking options available.

“Some airlines have agreed to honour tickets and waive fees for booking changes, but you may still have to pay any increase in the cost of the ticket,” it said.

Dublin Airport have provided a downloadable form where you can attach receipts for all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses that you incurred due to security delays, including rebooked flights, additional accommodation, and transport costs.

Strikes and staffing issues are likely to affect the holiday plans of thousands of travellers each day across Europe.
Strikes and staffing issues are likely to affect the holiday plans of thousands of travellers each day across Europe.

The CCPC is also advising to keep receipts for food and parking costs in case proof is required that you were at the airport within the recommended timeframe for your flight.

What about package holidays?

In this instance, the CCPC says you have “a number of strong rights and protections if something were to go wrong”.

“This includes the right to cancel your package holiday as a result of ‘unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances’ that significantly affect your ability to travel to your holiday destination.” If this happens, you are entitled to a full refund of your package holiday price, without paying any cancellation fee.

If delays at the airport result in you missing your package holiday flight, it advises that you should contact your travel organiser as soon as possible to explain your circumstances and discuss what options are available to you.

“If you don’t want your holiday to be rebooked for a later date, you can instead exercise your right to a full refund, without paying a cancellation fee.”  

What can I claim on my travel insurance?

Your travel insurance may cover missed flights due to airport delays and may include cover for a refund of your flight, the cost of rebooking your flight, or for a hotel stay.

“However, this cover is not available on all travel insurance policies, so we’d recommend that you check the T&Cs of your policy for what cover (if any) you may have,” the CCPC advised.

It also recommend considering taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, being sure to check what you’re covered for before buying anything.

I'm flying this weekend — what should I do?

The Daa is currently advising passengers to arrive 2.5 hours before a short-haul flight and 3.5 hours before a long-haul flight.

It is advised to check in online before you get to the airport, and if your airline allows it, check in your luggage the night before to save time on the day of flying.

As prices for car rentals at Dublin Airport soar, tour operators have reported that some tourists have cancelled trips due to the expense. Picture: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie
As prices for car rentals at Dublin Airport soar, tour operators have reported that some tourists have cancelled trips due to the expense. Picture: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

"When you get to the airport, be sure to follow the instructions of the staff and make sure you’re joining the correct queue for check-in, bag drop, or security,” the CCPC said.

“If you are travelling with someone who may not be able to stand in the long queues, or who may need additional mobility supports, be sure to reach out to your airline in advance of your flight for further assistance.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.