Unless you have been hiding under a rock, I doubt there is anyone in the UK who hasn't been affected by the unusual weather, courtesy of the "Beast from the East"
As I write this, several airports have closed and those that are open have cancelled hundreds of flights, leaving many passengers stranded at airports, or not being able to fly at all.
So what are the rules regarding consumer compensation and can I claim off my travel insurance?
The EU regulations regarding airlines state that where "Extraordinary Circumstances" occur, which is defined as something an Airline cannot influence or stop from happening, they do not have to compensate passengers.
Bad weather such as snow storms are classed as extraordinary circumstances.
However if you are stranded at an airport and your flight is delayed, airlines still have to provide services such as food and refreshments, even if it is caused by heavy snowfalls.
If you have purchased a good travel insurance policy, there are areas where you may be able to claim compensation.
The majority of travel insurance policies will cover travel delay. Where you have arrived at the airport, but your flight has been delayed for more than 12 hours due to "Adverse Weather" conditions. The compensation amount (varies according to each policy but ranging from £50 - £1,000) is mean't to help you pay for telephone calls, meals and refreshments purchased during the delay, provided you eventually travel, or for any irrecoverable unused travel and accommodation costs and other pre-paid charges, which you have paid or are contracted to pay if, after a delay or at least 12 hours, you choose to cancel your trip before departure.
If you are travelling to the airport, become delayed due to adverse weather conditions and miss your flight, this section covers reasonable additional accommodation (room only) and travel expenses, incurred in reaching your overseas destination.
There are a couple of caveats to this cover. 1. You must have allowed sufficient time to reach your destination 2. If the weather conditions existed or were publicly announced or forecast by the date you purchased the insurance or at the time of booking the trip.
These additional benefits cover cancellation and curtailment and will pay for any irrecoverable unused travel and accommodation costs (including excursions up to £250) and other pre-paid charges which you have paid or are contracted to pay, together with your proportion only of any reasonable additional travel expenses incurred if:
a. cancellation of the trip is necessary and unavoidable or,
b. the trip is curtailed or interrupted before completion as a result of any of the following events occurring:
Having your flights cancelled or being stranded is particularly frustrating, thankfully it's not something that happens that often in the UK. However it does highlight the need for good quality travel insurance and the fact that you should take it out the same time you book a holiday or trip abroad.