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Flybe cancels dozens of flights

Flybe has cancelled dozens of flights to and from UK airports today, blaming factors such as pilot shortages.

At least 25 flights have been cancelled, including 10 to and from Belfast Airport and others affecting Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Southampton.

The affected flights are mostly within the UK, but some international routes to destinations such as Amsterdam and Bordeaux have also seen cancellations.

Flybe also announced today that it would be stopping jet flights from Cardiff, Doncaster, Exeter and Norwich from October, although it will carry on flying smaller aircraft. It insists the decision is unrelated to today's cancellations.

'My flight was cancelled with no explanation'

Flybe customers have reported the cancellations on Twitter:

What are my rights when my flight is cancelled?

Under European Union flight delay law, you have rights if your flight is cancelled or delayed. For these rules to apply the flight must have left from an EU airport, or you must have arrived at an EU airport on an EU airline. Under this law, EU airports also include those in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

You can choose between:

  • A full refund. This includes money back for both legs of your journey if you have booked a return ticket.

  • An alternative flight. If you still want to travel, your airline must find an alternative flight. This has to be a) at the earliest opportunity or b) at the passenger's leisure, subject to seat availability.

    It's worth noting you may be entitled to ask for a flight on an alternative airline, if the one you're offered by the original airline is inconvenient. If you find a better flight with an alternative airline, you can ask to be booked onto that instead – don't just book it yourself.

    There's no firm rule on when your airline has to agree to put you on an alternative airline, but regulator the Civil Aviation Authority says you should be rerouted on the same day as your original flight.

    If you need to fly from a different airport, the airline should arrange your transport or cover reasonable costs.

You may also be entitled to compensation of up to €250 (£220), based on the timings of the alternative flight you're offered, even if you opt for a refund. See our Flight Cancellation guide and free tool for how to claim.

I'm stuck at the airport – what are my rights?

If you're stuck at the airport because your Flybe flight has been cancelled, the airline is obliged to provide:

  • Food and drink. Flybe should provide food and drink (or vouchers to buy them) if you're delayed more than two hours on a short-haul flight.

    If it's unable to, you can buy your own and claim back, but make sure you keep receipts – remember only reasonable expenses are covered, it's unlikely you'd be able to claim for alcohol for example.

  • A 'means of communication'. In practice, this just means Flybe's likely to reimburse you for the cost of any relevant calls you make.

  • Accommodation if needed. If you're delayed overnight you're entitled to a hotel, and Flybe must also provide transport to and from it. Ideally, it would book the hotel so always check first, but if it's unable to help, try to find a reasonably priced one and keep all receipts – again, it's unlikely to cover a luxury hotel.

If you're delayed by at least three hours, you may be able to claim compensation of up to €250 (£220) in certain circumstances. See our Flight Delays guide for more information.

If you're delayed for five hours you can ask for a full refund, including any unused parts of your journey. If you opt for the refund, however, you will no longer be entitled to the care and assistance above.

Keep hold of any evidence. As well as keeping receipts, note the reason you were given for the delay or cancellation and screenshot any information you may have seen on Twitter etc, as this could prove useful if you later claim compensation.

For full information, see our Flight Delays guide.

What does Flybe say?

Flybe said in a statement: "Flybe sincerely apologises to our customers and partners affected by the current flight cancellations.

"We are doing our best to mitigate the impact of the current situation that has arisen due to a combination of factors including seasonality, pilots' end-of-year leave, Easter holidays, base restructuring and the shortage of pilots across the industry that Flybe has highlighted in recent months.

"All those affected have been emailed and advised they can rebook for further travel on an alternative flight or apply for a full refund.

"Customers are advised to regularly check our website for full details."

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