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Travel disruption as Storm Ciara hits: your rights

Storm Ciara

Storm Ciara swept across the UK this weekend, with strong winds and heavy rain causing widespread disruption to rail services and some flights – here's the latest info and your rights if you're affected.

Dozens of international and domestic flights were cancelled from several UK airports on Sunday, with disruption continuing into Monday – for example, British Airways has cancelled some Monday flights from Gatwick and Heathrow, though others are going ahead as scheduled. All passengers are advised to check their flight status before travelling to the airport.

There was also widespread train disruption across England, Scotland and Wales on Sunday, and National Rail has warned that several train operators will also be affected on Monday – with cancellations, alternative routes and longer journey times expected in some areas.

The following operators have all issued advice for those travelling today (Monday 10 February):

Avanti West Coast, Caledonian SleeperCrossCountry, Gatwick Express, Great NorthernGreat Western RailwayHeathrow Express, Hull TrainsLNER, London Northwestern Railway, Northern, ScotRail, South Western Railway, Southeastern, Southern, ThameslinkTfL Rail, TransPennine Express, Transport for Wales, West Midlands Railway.

National Rail says that operators not on this list should be running a normal service, though it's still worth checking directly for the latest info.

If you're hit by disruption, we explain your rights below.

For more help, see our Flight Delay Compensation and Train Delays guides.

My flight has been delayed or cancelled. What are my rights?

If you were booked on an EU-regulated flight which was cancelled – however long before it was due to take off, and regardless of the cause – you have a right to:

  • A refund for the cancelled flight.
  • An alternative flight to your destination.

If you choose to be re-routed or if your departure is delayed by more than two hours, airlines also have to provide assistance such as food, phone calls and accommodation for passengers where appropriate, regardless of what caused the cancellation.

As a rule of thumb, you don't have the right to claim additional compensation if the cause is bad weather, as it needs to be within the airline's control. But there are a few cases where you may wish to pursue a claim – see our Flight Delays and Cancellations guide for more information.

What if I missed a flight because of a delay?

If train or road delays caused you to miss a flight, you may be able to get compensation from your travel insurance provider, though check first as different firms will have different rules.

You will need to show you allowed a reasonable amount of time for your journey to meet the flight.

The Association of British Insurers says: "Some travel insurance policies may offer some cover for missed flights due to your journey to the airport being disrupted in certain circumstances, so check your travel policy."

My train has been delayed or cancelled. What are my rights?

Here are the main rules:

  • Can I get on another train? If your train's delayed or cancelled, you can often hop on the next train instead – though check with station staff first as there are some exceptions.

    It's also worth noting that some train firms are allowing you to use your tickets on different routes or with different operators due to the disruption, so it's worth checking your options.

  • I don't want to travel because of a delay. Can I get a refund? The simple answer is yes, though it's more complex if you have a season ticket. See Season ticket claims.

  • My train was delayed. Can I get compensation? The rules are not the same for all train firms, but in most cases you can claim for a delay of 30+ minutes, or in some cases 15 minutes, regardless of the reason for the delay. You can often get at least 50% of your fare back.

For lots more, including how to claim and the rules if you miss a connection, see our Train Delays guide.

I can't use a hotel or car hire booking as I can't get to my destination. What are my rights?

First check if it's refundable, in which case contact the provider to get your money back.

If not, this is where travel insurance comes in, though there's no 'one-size-fits-all' answer, as each travel insurance policy is different, so check with your insurer. See Consequential loss help for more.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.