The government has revealed that passengers affected by the disruptions at London Gatwick airport will be entitled to compensation – from insurance companies.
Drones have caused chaos at Gatwick Airport, leaving thousands of passengers stranded as flights were delayed and cancelled after the airport was forced to close its sole runway.
The airport has since re-opened, but there are still plenty of delays and cancellations expected as a result.
Unfortunately for passengers, it’s unlikely they will receive compensation from airlines as the drones are considered an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ meaning airlines are not obliged to pay out.
However, according to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the burden should fall to travel insurance firms to compensate those affected. He said the government plans to enter talks with the insurance industry in a bid to secure this for affected passengers.
Mr Grayling told the BBC: "It goes beyond what the airline is responsible for. This is something that should be covered under travel insurance policies.
"But we will talk to the insurance industry today to make sure they treat claims reasonably. It’s certainly not linked to terrorism in the conventional sense.
"This is something I would hope the insurance industry would take an enlightened view about."
Most travel insurance policies do cover for travel delays, usually if your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours due to factors from adverse weather to industrial action.
Affected passengers should check their policy documents for more information.
In the case of Gatwick, there are a number of flights which would fall way beyond a 12 hour delay – the airport’s runway was forced to close for over 33 hours as the police and army searched to find those responsible for flying the drones.
Unfortunately, if passengers have not taken out travel insurance, they face receiving no compensation at all.
However, it’s not all bad news.
It’s worth noting that some airlines, including British Airways, have already been taking steps such as offering passengers a choice between rebooking their flight on a later date, or receiving a full refund.
Meanwhile, Southern Rail is offering those affected a full refund, or the option to choose an alternative travel route at no extra cost. You can find out more about these options here.
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