It would appear we have spent much of 2024 with a weather warning over our heads. The United Kingdom has been battered by high winds and treacherous rain. Scotland and Northern Ireland have taken the brunt of it, with Wales and Northern England closely following. Many along the South East and coastal regions have also experienced winds of up 100mph during Storm Isha and Storm Jocelyn.

Hundreds of thousands of houses and businesses across the UK have been left without power and many properties have been damaged. Rail, air and ferry services have been cancelled and people are advised to only travel if necessary.

With many planes grounded and diverted, over the last few weeks, due to the extreme weather, what are your rights?

In the event of delays and cancellations, it is the airline’s responsibility to provide you with an alternative flight as soon as possible – at their cost. In rare cases, this may mean flying with a different airline. In the meantime, they have an obligation to offer you accommodation and refreshments. However, if accommodation is not available, you may be asked to wait in the airport or make your own arrangements.

Some airlines will offer you a voucher for the cost of your flight and you will then need to find your own way home.

Compensation in the form of money will not be available as weather disruptions are classed as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and something that is outside of the airlines control.

Travel insurance, however, may offer a delay benefit. You will be able to find this cover and the amount available in your policy wording. Usually, the travel insurance company will begin to pay compensation after a specific period of delay (generally this is either 6 or 12 hours, provided you have checked in on time). This will be a set amount per hour up to a maximum amount. Cover will differ between insurers so it is best to check with your travel insurance company.

If you are delayed for more than 24 hours, and have not been offered alternative transport – and no longer wish to travel, you may be able to claim for cancellation under your travel insurance policy. Again, this will differ between insurers, so something to check in your policy wording. It can usually be found under ‘travel abandonment’ or ‘travel delay’.