A huge fire at Luton Airport has suspended all flights after a multi-storey partially collapsed overnight with hundreds of flights cancelled.
A major incident was declared at 9.38pm on Tuesday by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue and 100 firefighters, 15 fire engines and three specialist aerial appliances were at the scene.
The car park was “fully involved in the fire” and the multi-storey car park suffered a “significant structural collapse,” the fire service said.
Flights have been suspended until 3pm on Wednesday. Around 25,000 airline passengers are thought to have been impacted by cancellations and delays.
A spokesperson for Claims.co.uk said, “Whilst booking a package holiday can slash the cost of going away, if your flight is cancelled you can risk having your whole holiday cancelled or rearranged.
“If you have booked a package holiday and your flights are cancelled, you have the rights to either claim a full refund, a reroute of the trip destination and potentially compensation from the airline.
“However, in these specific circumstances, delays and cancellations caused by air traffic control restrictions are considered an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and therefore do not qualify for compensation.
“In cases of flight delays and flight cancellations due to an ‘extraordinary circumstance,’ the airline must provide you with additional services, depending on the length of your delay and waiting time.
“These additional services include free meals and refreshments, which you are entitled to when your flight is delayed by at least 2 hours. Passengers should also receive a free overnight accommodation and a transfer to and from the airport if the flight is shifted to the next day.
“If a travel operator needs to cancel a package holiday for any reason, they are required to notify you as soon as possible and without undue delay. This is to ensure that you have enough time to help you make alternative arrangements or seek refunds.
“However, in many people’s case due to the disruption, if you are at the airport when the flight is cancelled, it is advised that you contact your travel company straight away to talk through your options.
“If the delay lasts more than five hours, but is not actually cancelled, you should also be able to choose not to travel and get a full refund on your ticket.
“If your flight cannot be rearranged, meaning your whole holiday must be cancelled, then the travel company must offer an alternative holiday if possible, or a refund of the full package price, not just the flight part.”
What is the best option?
If you are wondering whether to claim a full refund or reschedule your holiday, this depends on personal circumstances.
There are several factors you can consider making this decision:
Availability- consider if the dates the travel operator offers you are a suitable alternative date for your original trip. If the new dates do not align with your schedule, rescheduling might not be a viable option.
Change Fees: check if the travel operator is waiving any change fees for rescheduling. Some operators might impose fees for changing travel dates, which could impact your decision.
Travel Insurance: if you have travel insurance, review your policy to see if it covers cancellations or changes due to unforeseen circumstances. This might influence your decision to reschedule or opt for a refund.
A spokesperson for Claims.co.uk added, “If you received less than 14 days’ notice of the cancellation, you can claim compensation. This can be awarded in pounds or euros depending on where your flight was due to depart from.”
The awards are according to the following scale:
- £220 / €250 for all flights of 1,500km or less (e.g. Glasgow to Amsterdam);
- £350 / €400 for all flights between 1,500km and 3,500km (e.g. East Midlands to Marrakech);
- £520 / €600 for all other flights (e.g. London to New York).