The Easter holidays are almost upon us, and for many this will be the first opportunity to jet abroad for a long holiday for the first time since Covid restrictions were dropped from the UK.

And as we flock to the sunshine, airlines are struggling with demand due to staff shortages from sudden sickness or Covid.

In the last few days, both British Airways and easyJet had to cancel flights, and the chaos looks like it is going to continue.

So what happens if your flight is delayed or cancelled? Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know from Press Association.

Can you get compensation?

If your plane is delayed or cancelled through the airlines fault, you will be entitled to compensation.

However, this depends on where you’re travelling to or from, and who owns the plane.

If disruption is caused on departures from the UK, then you’re covered. But if an issue arises on the return journey, you’ll only get help if you’re travelling with a UK or EU airline.

The information below applies to these two cases.

For any journeys with a non-EU airline to a destination outside the UK, you’ll need to check with the individual airline.

What are you entitled to after a few hours?

Most airlines will offer you tokens or vouchers for food and drink that can be redeemed at the airport. They will also provide access to phone calls and emails if you are overseas.

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For short haul flights (less than 1500km) the delay will need to be over two hours; for mid-haul (1500km-3500km) it’s three hours; for long haul (more than 3500km) it’s four hours.

What are you entitled to after long delays?

For longer flight delays, you may be eligible for hotel accommodation (if your flight is rescheduled for the following day) and in some cases, vouchers for future use.

This amount will depend on the delay and the distance of the flight.

If your flight is delayed for more than five hours, you can decide to cancel and receive a full refund, along with a refund for any other parts of the journey you won’t be able to complete.

 Alternatively, you can claim up to £520 compensation if the airline is to blame.

What happens if your flight is cancelled?

If your flight is cancelled, you can claim a full refund or request the airline to book you an alternative flight to your destination.

Legally, you can also ask for compensation if your replacement flight arrives more than two hours later than was originally planned, or if you were given less than 14 days’ notice for a cancellation. For less than seven days’ notice, you’re entitled to between £110 and £520.

How can you make a claim?

To make a claim, first contact your airline. If you receive no response then check to see if the airline is a member of an alternative dispute resolution body.

You can also report the case to the Civil Aviation Authority. You can also check with your travel insurance to see if you are covered.

What about Acts of God?

Unfortunately, if weather or natural disasters are to blame for delays or cancellations, it won’t be possible to make a claim from an airline. Instead, check the T&Cs of your insurance policy.

Booking tip

If you’re on a multi-hop trip using different airlines for each leg, make sure you include all the flights on the same booking. It’ll be easier to claim for compensation if a part of the journey is disrupted.