Holidays! We all look forward to them. A time to relax, de-stress, have fun. We arrive at the airport with bags packed, ready to fly to our holiday paradise.

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But then the trouble begins; delayed flights, missed connections, cancelled flight equals  grumpy kids, stress levels rocketing, frantic phone calls! And when we do eventually get to our destination there is no luggage.

I am sure that many of us have had these experiences, which put a damper on the start or end of our holidays. Then we face a battle when we get home, with the airline telling us to claim from our travel insurers, and the travel insurers rejecting many of the claims and then deducting a large excess from the proposed compensation. If the airlines are pushed, most will adopt the tactic of stonewalling, or will claim ‘technical difficulties’. The stubborn among us may eventually get satisfaction, but only after raising court action.

However the answer to our problems lies with EC regulation 261/2004 and the recent interpretation of it by the Supreme Court.  The Regulation establishes passengers rights if they are denied boarding against their will, their flight is cancelled, or their flight is delayed.

In the event of flight cancellation or denied boarding passengers are entitled to reimbursement of ticket costs, or return flight to first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination. They can also claim for care such as meals, accommodation and the like. Finally they can claim between 250 and 600 euros depending on the flight distance and destination, plus expenses.

The Supreme Court have now ruled that passengers whose flights are delayed for more than three hours can expect to receive the same care and assistance, and financial compensation. This liability is only waived in extraordinary circumstances, defined as unpredictable, unavoidable and external. Examples given are strikes and extreme weather.

As you can imagine this has not gone down well with the airlines, and I haven’t yet seen signs at airports drawing passenger’s attention to their rights! I expect that they will continue to adopt the approach of golden silence when a claim is intimated to them.

For lost or delayed luggage, there may be a claim under the Montreal Convention.

So, let me take the stress out of your claim, by instructing me to pursue it on your behalf.

And remember – keep your booking confirmation, boarding card, luggage tag, and receipts for any costs incurred. These will be required for a successful claim.

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