Easyjet has continued to cancel flights this week, blaming IT failures as many have seen travel plans cancelled.
It comes four days after hundreds of people were left stranded at Belfast International due to another round of cancelled flights by the budget airline.
Consumers are now wondering what their rights are regarding compensation – and have been reassured by experts that guidelines are on their side.
Can I get a refund if my flight is cancelled?
If your flight's been cancelled by the airline, yes, you are legally entitled to a refund or to be booked on an alternative flight to your destination.
You can only choose a refund or rebooking, not both.
Travellers may also be offered a voucher from the airline to use for a future booking - you can choose this option if you wish, but if you'd prefer the full refund you are entitled to it.
According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, a full refund also includes "other flights from the airline that you won’t use in the same booking such as onward or return flights".
If you're part-way through a journey, you also have a right to fly back to your original departure airport.
You are also entitled to a refund for the full price of your ticket if you miss a connecting flight due to your first flight being cancelled.
In what form should I receive my refund?
Any refund should be a cash refund (in practical terms, this means having the cost paid back to you via the original payment method that you used to book the flight). Airlines may offer vouchers or air miles - but you do not need to accept this. EU Regulation 261, which was written into UK law at the end of the Brexit transition period, means you are entitled to a full cash refund.
Am I entitled to compensation for a cancellation?
If you were given less than two weeks' notice for the cancellation and you're offered a replacement flight that delays you by at least two hours, you may be entitled to compensation.
Passengers who don’t receive adequate warning, for example less than seven days’ notice, can claim compensation based on the timings of the alternative flight. If the flight is under 1,500km, you can claim £220 for delays of at least two hours.
For 1,500km – 3,500km journeys, you must be delayed by at least three hours to receive £350 redress.
Passengers on long-haul flights of over 3,500km are entitled to compensation of £260 or £520 depending on the delay.
What if I am given between one and two weeks’ notice for my flight cancellation?
If you are told about the cancellation between seven and 14 days before you are due to fly, the compensation rules are slightly different, with the amounts ranging from £110 to £520.
If you receive more than 14 days’ notice, you are not entitled to compensation.
However, you must still be offered the chance to rebook your journey or be given a full cash refund.
Under what circumstances would I not be entitled to compensation?
While many passengers should be able to claim compensation for the EasyJet disruption, not all delays qualify. Reasons for an airline to refuse compensation include technical issues with an aeroplane, security risks, severe weather and drone disruption.
Can I claim on my travel insurance?
Your travel insurance may offer cover for delays.
Some insurers may pay out a lump sum based on the length of delay, while others will refund you for costs such as overnight accommodation or alternative transport.
However, delay cover usually only kicks in if the delay is due to adverse weather, strikes or mechanical aircraft failure. So, it may not cover any delays caused by the cancelled flights with Easyjet.
Dig out your policy and check the wording to find out if you can make a claim. If you have a packaged bank account, your bank may provide travel insurance, so double-check the terms and conditions on that policy too.
What if I am delayed overnight and need hotel accommodation?
Tthe cancelling airline must provide this as well as transport to and from the airport. If it does not do so, you should make your own arrangements while also seeking to minimise the cost as much as possible.
Easyjet said: “We will always do our best to provide customers with overnight accommodation. In times of widespread disruption that’s not always possible so we may ask you to find your own accommodation.
“In this case we ask that you look for accommodation, which is 3 stars or equivalent like Premier Inn, Ibis, Holiday Inn, Hotel Formule 1, Travelodge or Motel-One.
“If you choose to book more expensive accommodation when equivalent hotels within our suggested range were available, we will be unable to reimburse the full cost of the accommodation.”
What about meals?
An airline’s obligation to provide you with “a reasonable amount of food and drink” kicks in depends on the length of the flight you were supposed to take with them.
Under 1,500km: two hours
1,500km-3,500km: three hours
Typically passengers are given a voucher for a certain amount after this time period. If this is clearly inadequate (e.g. enough for a cup of tea and a packet of crisps for a six-hour delay) then you can claim for reasonable additional expenditure.
However, you cannot claim for alcohol.