Your rights in flight

Delays due to natural causes, lost baggage or poor cabin service can ruin your travel plans.
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  • Updated:21 Jun 2011

03.Delay or cancellation

Airlines don’t usually guarantee their timetables. They reserve the right to substitute alternative airlines or aircraft and alter or omit stopping places shown on your ticket. They won’t necessarily take responsibility if you fail to make a connecting flight as a result. If you’re prevented from travelling due to unexpected circumstances, some airlines will provide you with a credit for future travel (possibly after deducting a fee).

If the delay or cancellation is due to bad weather, for example, airlines will usually try to help you get to your destination but they won’t be responsible for paying any costs or expenses you may incur as a result of the delay or cancellation. The time and means of transport used to get you to your destination will also be at the discretion of the airline. Of course, the airlines are still bound by consumer protection laws so they can’t completely refuse to help you.

Other examples of unforeseen circumstances include natural disasters, wars, civil disturbances, industrial disputes, loading restrictions, terrorism or government action. If the airline is unwilling to offer assistance or a credit, we think you should be given a refund. If the delay or cancellation is the fault of the airline (aircraft maintenance, sick crew members, boarding irregularities), most airlines will either:

  • Carry you on another scheduled service as soon as space is available without additional charge. If you have to be upgraded to a different class, you shouldn’t incur extra expense.
  • Reroute you to your destination by one of its own services, with another airline or by other mutually agreed means of transport at no additional cost, or
  • Give you a refund.

Payments for accommodation, transport, meals and phone calls are at the discretion of the airline but it’s always worth asking for any assistance you need.


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