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Article from TNU NOVEMBER 2023

Air travel guidance

The government has refreshed its official travel guidance to help passengers navigate their protections and rights when flying.

Formerly known as the Aviation Passenger Charter, the travel benchmark has been given a makeover, ensuring operators and passengers know exactly what is demanded of them. It details what people can expect from airlines, travel agents, tour operators and airports, and what to do if things do not go to plan.

This includes advice on what to do if flights are cancelled or delayed, if baggage goes missing, and the rights of disabled passengers, as well as guidance on how to complain if passengers feel they have been treated unfairly.

Not only does it help passengers in these stressful situations, the travel guide also provides general advice for all aspects of your journey, such as what to expect at passport control, what you can bring through UK customs and how to manage connecting flights.

It is a long and complicated document but several points stand out.

  • If your flight was cancelled or you were denied boarding and you are waiting for an alternative flight, or there is a long delay (at least two hours) to your flight, the airline must provide you with care and support, such as meals and refreshments.

  • If the cancellation or delay means an overnight stay, you are entitled to hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and accommodation.

  • If your flight arrives at your final destination more than three hours late, and the delay has been caused by the airline, you are entitled to compensation.

  • It also reminds passengers to regularly check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDCO) website for the latest security and safety advice before booking travel, as well as what counts as an extraordinary circumstance when compensation is not available.

  • The advice also makes clear that while security checks are changing over the coming months, they should continue to be prepared to remove electronics and small liquids from their bags when travelling by air.

  • There is a caveat.  Compensation is not due if the cancellation is due to circumstances outside of the airline’s control, such as bad weather, natural disasters, delays due to air traffic control decisions, birds striking an aircraft or political instability.


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