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Sally Wilson

Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.

You could be entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed

Make sure your travel insurance covers you for holiday hitches.

departure board

Whenever you go on holiday there is always a chance of disruption to your travel. In the winter this can often be due to weather conditions. However if your flight is delayed due to other circumstances there is a chance you could be compensated after a new ruling by the European Court of Justice in September this year. This ruling only affects flights. To make sure you do not lose out on other pre-paid charges should your holiday be delayed, use our travel insurance comparison service to find the right cover for you.

The new ruling supported one already made in the UK that said passengers can now claim compensation for flight delays due to technical issues with a plane. Airlines had claimed that these technical issues were "spontaneous" and therefore could not be spotted by their general maintenance checks. They would therefore be considered "extraordinary circumstances". Once they fall into this category, the airline is no longer liable. The European judges disagreed with this position by the airlines and ruled in favour of passengers.

This is great news for travellers as compensation can be claimed on flights already made. The limit on how far back you can claim depends on the individual countries. In the UK the statute of limitations is six years. Not all delays can be compensated. Your rights could depend on which airline you are travelling with, where you are travelling, the distance you are travelling and the length of your delay. The amount of compensation is between €250 and €600.

"Extraordinary circumstances" which mean the airline does not have to pay out include security risks, political instability, manufacturing defects, severe weather and some strike action such as by air traffic control. If however you are unsure about your airline's reason why your flight is delayed, particularly if other flights are taking off, it is worth challenging them. If you want to take the matter further, contact the Civil Aviation Authority.

Even if under the regulations you are not entitled to financial compensation - for example if the delay is due to adverse weather conditions - you may still be eligible for help in the form of meals, refreshments, accommodation or transfers depending on the length of your delay. Approach your airline directly to ask but, if they disagree, keep your receipts because you may be able to claim later. It is also a good idea to contact your travel insurance provider before purchasing items to find out what you are covered for. Many policies differ in what provision they make for flight delays and their impact. It is worth taking this into consideration when you are buying travel insurance. You can compare travel insurance policies with MoneyMaxim.

Image courtesy of: Pixabay