Travel to and from Brussels has been severely disrupted by Tuesday's terror attacks, with the city's main airport remaining closed for a third day today. If you've booked to travel or your plans to return from the city have been affected, here's what you need to know.
Thousands of Britons have been forced to cancel or amend their travel plans as a result of the attacks in the Belgian capital, which killed at least 31 people. Zaventem Airport will be closed until the end of today (Thursday 24 March) at least, as a forensic investigation is carried out in the aftermath of two explosions in the airport departures hall.
A second attack struck the city's Maelbeek metro station.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) isn't advising against travel to Belgium, but is warning travellers to remain vigilant and to factor in extra time for their journeys due to increased security measures in place at UK ports and at borders.
What's the latest on the disruption?
British Airways, Brussels Airlines and BMI Regional – the main airlines to operate direct flights between Brussels and UK airports – have cancelled dozens of flights between them over the last three days, and it's not yet clear when flights will resume.
Brussels' other airport – Brussels South Charleroi Airport – remains open, though passengers are being told to arrive at least four hours before their departure time to allow for additional security checks.
Eurostar is now running a normal service between London St Pancras and Brussels, following disruption in the wake of the attacks, and public transport in Brussels is now operating again.
What are my rights if my flight's been cancelled?
If your flight's been cancelled, you're entitled to choose either a refund or an alternative flight – see our Flight Delays guide for more info. Here's what the airlines have told us they're doing.
- BMI Regional – All flights to and from Brussels are cancelled at least until the end of Friday (25 March). Passengers booked for travel to and from Brussels within the next 28 days can transfer to an alternative flight free of charge within the next 28 days, or opt for a full refund. If you're affected, call 0330 333 7998, or if you've booked via a third party or travel agency contact them directly.
- British Airways – It's offering passengers due to travel to or from Brussels up to and including Tuesday 29 March "a range of rebooking options". We've asked what these are and will update this story when we know more. Alternatively if your flight's been cancelled or you were due to fly today, you can claim a full refund.
- Brussels Airlines – Passengers due to travel to or from Brussels up until the end of Monday 28 March can get a refund, or rebook to travel before 30 June. If you booked directly with the airline you can do this via its website. If you booked via a third party or agency you'll need to contact them to rebook or get a refund.
- Easyjet – Doesn't fly direct from Brussels to the UK. Passengers booked to fly to or from Brussels up until the end of Monday 28 March can request a refund or change the date or destination of their flights free of charge.
Normally if a flight is cancelled, EU rules mean you may be entitled to compensation – however in this case they won't apply, as flights have been cancelled for a reason outside the airline's control.
What if my Eurostar journey was cancelled?
Eurostar is now running a normal service to Belgium – but on Tuesday it cancelled services after the attacks. If your journey was disrupted you're entitled to claim compensation.
Eurostar passengers travelling to and from Brussels up to and including Tuesday 29 March can exchange their tickets for travel at a later date; this needs to be done within 60 days of the original departure date. If you're holding a ticket for 22 or 23 March and did not travel, you're entitled to an exchange or a refund. To do this contact Eurostar on 03432 18618.
I'm stuck in Brussels – will my additional expenses (eg, hotels and food) be paid for?
You should speak to your airline about this. When there's an overnight delay as the result of flight cancellation, regardless of what caused the cancellation, airlines have to provide assistance, such as food, phone calls and accommodation. Easyjet, for example, confirms it's arranging hotel accommodation for stranded passengers, and says it's also reviewing all options for passengers currently in Brussels to get them to their final destination.
However it's important to understand this right only applies to cancelled flights where you choose to be re-routed at the earliest opportunity. If you decide to get a refund for the cancelled flight, or decide to be re-routed at a later date, the airline doesn't have to provide this assistance as you're no longer its customer.
Accommodation and alternative transport costs following a flight cancellation aren't generally covered by travel insurers, but if you've a premium policy then it may be worth checking as well.
Will my insurer cover me if I want to rearrange travel dates?
If you want to rearrange your travel plans some insurers will provide cover free of charge for your new dates of travel, which will also cover you in the interim – this is more likely to be the case if you have paid out for a more extensive policy. Not all insurers will cover the interim, though, and it's best to check your policy wording if you're unsure.
I'm still in the UK – can I cancel my trip to Brussels?
If you're still in the UK and don't want to travel to Brussels any more, you should speak to your tour operator or transport provider in the first instance.
If you were due to travel this week and you've been unable to do so, check with your travel insurer, if you're covered. Some policies will cover travel delays caused by terrorism and you may find that after a certain period of time – usually 48 hours – you're able to cancel your trip.
However if you weren't yet due to travel, but have now decided you don't want to go, it's trickier, particularly as the FCO hasn't advised against travel to Brussels. Most travel insurance polices don't cover cancellation because you'd rather not travel – what's known as 'disinclination travel' – though you can always check.
I'm still in the UK and still want to travel to Brussels – will my travel insurance still cover me?
As the FCO isn't advising against travel, your coverage should not be affected – though if you're concerned, double-check with your insurer.
My trip's been delayed – will my travel insurance cover additional expenses (eg, cancelled hotels and car hire)?
This depends on your policy wording. The Association of British Insurers advises travellers whose plans have been impacted by events in Brussels to contact their travel insurer.
If you've experienced difficulties with your airline or insurer as a result of the travel disruption, let us know in the comments or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.