Flight cancellations storm Isha: Can I get a refund, how to claim compensation for delays - five steps travellers should take

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Travel experts have unveiled five steps to take to get a refund on flights that are cancelled due to Storm Isha

Flights have been cancelled, delayed and diverted as Storm Isha wreaks havoc in the UK. This morning (Monday 22 January) a rare red warning came into effect for Scotland from 1am to 5am with alerts that some areas could see wind speeds of 100mph causing a “danger to life”. 

The Met Office is warning people not to go outside and to shelter in place as the storm brings life-threatening winds with flying debris, large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and homes. There could be damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down, as well as power cuts affecting other services, such as mobile phone coverage.

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Air traffic control restrictions were put in place yesterday with British Airways confirming it had to “make schedule adjustments due to the adverse weather conditions across the UK and Europe caused by Storm Isha.” National Air Traffic Services (Nats) told the PA news agency: “Due to adverse weather conditions across the UK, temporary air traffic restrictions are in place. Restrictions of this sort are only ever applied to maintain safety. Our teams are working closely with airports and airlines to minimise disruption. Passengers should check the status of their flight with their airline.”

As Storm Isha forces airlines to ground many planes, experts have named the five steps all travellers should take to ensure they are compensated for cancellations and delays. 

Travel experts have unveiled five steps to take to get a refund on flights that are cancelled due to Storm Isha. (Photo: PA)Travel experts have unveiled five steps to take to get a refund on flights that are cancelled due to Storm Isha. (Photo: PA)
Travel experts have unveiled five steps to take to get a refund on flights that are cancelled due to Storm Isha. (Photo: PA) | PA

What to do if your flight is cancelled due to Storm Isha

Travel experts at FlightsFinder.com have advised passengers on actions to take if they are caught in disruption because of the heavy winds sweeping the country this week. Airlines can classify severe weather conditions as an extraordinary circumstance and can refuse compensation but the experts advise travellers to challenge the decision.

Shahab Siddiqui, founder of FlightsFinder.com said: “When it comes to weather-related delays and cancellations it can cause more problems for travellers as airlines can refuse compensation claiming it is out of their control. It is well worth disputing this as airlines can be held responsible if they had poor de-icing procedures, for example. It is also important to keep in touch with airlines for updates and make use of complimentary food and drinks at the airport.”

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Listed are the five steps travellers should take to ensure they are compensated for cancellations and delays, according to experts at FlightsFinder.com

Challenge the airline

If a flight is cancelled because of bad weather, guidelines state that the airline must prove there were extraordinary circumstances and that they took all reasonable steps to avoid them.

Ask about re-routes

Airlines must prove that they took all possible measures to re-route affected passengers at the earliest opportunity and prove it was not possible to rebook passengers onto another connection. They must also show they examined rebooking passengers on flights with other airlines and even considered alternative transportation. 


It is always worth claiming compensation. If the weather is not “wholly exceptional”, or if other flights are taking off at the same time, this may be an indication that your flight could have gone ahead. Airlines failing to take technical measures like de-icing the aircraft will leave grounds for compensation. 


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Some providers offer cover for extreme weather, for which airlines aren't required to offer compensation. If left stranded by disruption, they can also cover emergency accommodation and even repatriation.

Complimentary offers 

Depending on how long the flight is delayed, the airline has to offer things like food and drink, access to phone calls and email and accommodation. If not given anything at the airport, keep receipts for expenses and try to claim from the airline later.

Can I get a refund if my flight is cancelled due to Storm Isha?

For those who experience any delays or cancellations in the coming weeks, a spokesperson for Claims.co.uk has shared your best options for rearranging and claiming any compensation. The spokesperson said: "If you have booked a package holiday and your flights are cancelled, you have the rights to either claim a full refund, a reroute of the trip destination and potentially compensation from the airline.  

“However, in these specific circumstances, delays and cancellations caused by air traffic control restrictions are considered an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and therefore do not qualify for compensation. In cases of flight delays and flight cancellations due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance,’ the airline must provide you with additional services, depending on the length of your delay and waiting time. "

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Additional services include free meals and refreshments which travellers are entitled to when their flight is delayed by at least two hours. Passengers should also receive a free overnight accommodation and a transfer to and from the airport if the flight is shifted to the next day. 

 The spokesperson added: “If a travel operator needs to cancel a package holiday for any reason, they are required to notify you as soon as possible and without undue delay. This is to ensure that you have enough time to help you make alternative arrangements or seek refunds.  

"However, in many people's case due to the disruption, if you are at the airport when the flight is cancelled, it is advised that you contact your travel company straight away to talk through your options. If the delay lasts more than five hours, but is not actually cancelled, you should also be able to choose not to travel and get a full refund on your ticket."

If your flight cannot be arranged the spokesperson says that the travel company must offer an alternative holiday, if that is possible. The spokesperson said: "If your flight cannot be rearranged, meaning your whole holiday must be cancelled, then the travel company must offer an alternative holiday if possible, or a refund of the full package price, not just the flight part.” 

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