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29th November 2011

Know Your Flight Rights Ahead of Wednesday’s Strike, Advises Consumer Council

Ahead of Wednesday’s strike which could have an impact on NI passengers travelling through Heathrow, the Consumer Council has prepared a fact sheet outlining the rights and entitlements of those affected.

The Consumer Council’s Head of Transport, Scott Kennerley said:

“Passengers may experience disruption, particularly at Heathrow Airport, as a result of the strike by UK Border Agency staff.  However, the rights of passengers in situations like these are protected by European law.  The Consumer Council has produced a simple fact sheet outlining these rights which is available from our website,, or by calling us on 0800 121 6022.  We also have a more detailed leaflet for passengers called ‘Plane Facts’ and one for passengers with a disability or less mobile passengers, called ‘Access to Air Travel’, both of which are free of charge.

“The main points passengers should be aware of is that if your flight is delayed by at least two hours for short haul flights[1], three hours for medium haul or four hours for long haul flights, your airline must offer you free meals, accommodation and free telephone calls or emails while you wait. If your flight is cancelled you must be offered the same assistance as delayed passengers, plus a choice between a full refund or an alternative flight at the earliest opportunity.   Passengers affected by strike action are not entitled to financial compensation however, because the strike is beyond the control of the airline.”

The Consumer Council has advised all passengers to contact their airline for further information on the status of their flight before travelling to the airport.  Anyone requiring assistance because of a disability or reduced mobility should contact their airline at least 48 hours in advance of travelling.


  1. Consumer Council media contact: Pauline Gordon, telephone, 028 9067 4813 or 079 0997 2704 or e-mail,   
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.
  3. For more information, visit our website at

[1]Passengers are entitled to assistance if they are delayed for:

·         Two hours or more for a flight less than 1,500 kilometres

·         Three hours or more for a flight between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometres

·         Four hours or more for a flight more than 3,500 kilometres

Airlines are not required to provide assistance if it will result in further delays to the departure of the flight.