What are my rights to compensation or a refund if Heathrow Airport is shut down by activists? – The Sun

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What are my rights to compensation or a refund if Heathrow Airport is shut down by activists? – The Sun



ACTIVISTS have vowed to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones for TEN DAYS this summer – and it could could leave you stranded without any compensation.
This is because flight delay regulations that customers usually rely on only applies to delays and cancellations caused by something within the airline’s control.
1 You may struggle to get compensation if a protest disrupts your travel plansCredit: Alamy
Yesterday, activists from Extinction Rebellion said it plans to stage protests for up to 10 days in a bid to stop a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport.
The climate-change activists also plotted to shut down the airport at the start of the Easter holidays, but their protest then failed to disrupt a single flight.
Can you get compensation if your holiday is cancelled or delayed?
If they’re successful this summer and you find yourself stranded or delayed, customers still “most likely” won’t be eligible for compensation for the trouble, Spencer Roberts of Resolver told The Sun.
Under EU rules airlines must pay back £520 per person if a flight is delayed. The amount you get depends on the length of the delay and how far you are travelling.
But airlines can dodge payouts if the circumstances are out of their control.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told The Sun potential compensation claims depend on the situation and it couldn’t speculate.
Can you get a refund or an alternative flight?
An airline should book you on a later flight or cancel your existing flight and refund it.
If you want to cancel or re-book your flight yourself because of the disruption, most airlines will let you but you might have to pay a fee.
Of course, each airline have different policies, so some might be able to fly you to and from a different airport.
Aashna Shroff, personal finance expert at comparison site Money.co.uk, told The Sun: “In situations like this it’s best to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
“It can be frustrating when something outside of your control directly affects your travel plans, but you shouldn’t be left out of pocket.
“If your flight has been cancelled, ask for a refund. You should get your money back within seven days or given an alternative flight.
“This should also apply to connecting flights you miss as a result, as long as they were booked together.
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“As a gesture of good will some airlines have been known to give out compensation for the inconvenience caused when a flight is delayed by more than three hours,” she added.
“However you may not be automatically entitled to this when the delay is caused by a protest because the airline will argue it’s not technically their fault.
“It’s always worth a shot and ask though.”Will you be covered by insurance?
This is an unprecedented event so it’s unclear whether you would be covered on your insurance if your flight is cancelled if your policy covers incidents and disruption.
Also keep in mind that these policies are usually more expensive, meaning not as many people opt for them so carefully double-check this in advance.
Your insurance should cover you for the cost of your accommodation if you booked separately to your hotel and can’t travel due to the protests.
Anna Sant, travel expert at comparison site MoneySuperMarket, told The Sun: “Protests can often come under a ‘civil unrest’ clause in your insurance policy, although these aren’t always included as standard.
“You can however contact your insurer to add on this type of cover, which is otherwise known as a ‘trip disruption package’.
“Some insurers however, will only cover you if you bought your policy before the protest became public knowledge.
“If in doubt, you can always call a provider to check.”
What about if you booked a package holiday?
A package holiday is when two or more services are booked together through the same company, eg, flights and accommodation or accommodation and car hire.
The trip has to last more than 24 hours and include an overnight stay.
If the company cancels your flight then you would be due a refund for your holiday – or they should find an alternative for you.
You may also be due compensation, although firms will try and wriggle out of this if the cancellation is due to an “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstance”.
If your holiday is cancelled you should get a refund within 14 days of the trip being called off.
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