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Money & Rights

Payouts for Delays

When your train or plane is late or even cancelled, you can seek compensation. Jo Cooper guides you to the right track.

Anyone who travels by train will be all too familiar with services being delayed or cancelled. Overcrowding is another problem blighting certain routes. Some lines fare worse than others. Sounthern, in particular, has come in for harsh criticism for its overcrowding and lack of punctuality.

When it somes to claiming compensation for late services rail companies don't always make it easy.

In October 2016, the Consumer Rights Act was extended to cover the rail industry, allowing passengers to claim back money for issues other than delays, such as overcrowding, filthy toilet and expenses incurred because of a delay. But as Alex Hayman, managing director of public markets for Which?, says; "The Act gives passengers the entitlement to claim for a wde range of problem, but we found train companies are failing to inform passengers and comply fully with the law."

How to make a claim

So when can you claim for a delayed or cancelled journey? The rules can apar a little confusing to appear a little confusing to start with, as different rules, but generally, you can get a full refund if your train journey is cancelled. 

If you're delayed and arrive at your destination more than half an hour late, you'll usually be able to get some money back, but the amount you claim will depend on which train company you travelled with.

Train companies which ae signed up to a scheme calley 'Delay Repay' will pay compensation regardless of why your train was delayed. You can check your traiin company's website to see if it has signed up to the scheme. If it has, you're legally entitles to compensation of 50 percent of your ticket price if you get to your destination between 30 minutes and an hour late. 

If the train company had not signed up to 'Delay Repay', you can still get compensation under rules called the 'National Rail Conditions of Carriage', but you won't get as much.

If you arrived at yout destination more than an hour late, you'll be entitled to 50 per cent of yout ticket price if you bought a single ticket (25 percent of your ticket price if you bought a return ticket). You won't get anything, however, if the delay wasn't the rain companies fault.

You can claim compensation by logging on to the train cmpanies' website; most have online forms you can use or you can write them a letter if you prefer. You normally need to claim within 28 days.

Som companies offer vpuchers to ise on future train hourneys. You don;t have to accept them- if you want a cash refund, you can insist on it

If you have a complaint that the train company has no resolved to your satisfaction, you can ask Transport Focus to look into it, tel; 0300 123 2350, website;

The good news for train passengers is that the Government has announced train companies will have to pay compansation sooner in the future (when trains are more than 15 minutes late), but this is only slowly being introduced between now and 2020. 

Flight Delays

If your flight has been delayed by at least 3 hours or cancelled, you have the right to compensation under European Law.

Under EU regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitles up to £520 in compensation when their flight lands at at their destination more than three hours late. How much you’re entitled to depends on the flight you booked and the length of the delay.

The flight must have departed from an EU airport, operating by any airline, or it must be arriving into an EU airport and be operated by an EU airline. ‘EU airport’ also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It’s best to contact your airline or check its website to find out how to apply for compensation. Many airlines will ask you to fill in a form, which is usually the fastest way to claim.

If there’s no standard claim form, send the airline a letter. The Civil Aviation Authority ( has a letter template you can use.

Have you ever claimed compensation for a delayed journey? Want more travel news? 

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