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Travel delay could spoil your day

Almost half of all flights at Heathrow in the first three months of 2008 were delayed, according to the latest statistics released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).  Passengers passing through Heathrow experienced on average a delay of 25 minutes. The period includes the disastrous opening of the new Terminal 5 at the end of March.  Moreover, these  figures do not take account of cancellations so the picture is, in fact, worse than stated.  For instance, British Airways cancelled large numbers of short-haul flights from the airport on 27 March and in the days that followed in a bid to reduce delays.  Overall,the delays are the worst at the airport in recent memory.  Even in September 2001, when many flights were delayed because of the World Trade Centre attacks, 64.7% of flights from the airport were on time as opposed to 56% in 2008.  The CAA figures also show that Stansted is the UK airport where you are least likely to be delayed – 80% of flights from there leave on time and the average delay is just 11 minutes. If you suffer delay to your flight once you get to the airport, then do get written confirmation from your airline as to the reasons for and the length of the delay in case a travel insurance claim is necessary.  Do keep receipts of any expenses you are forced to make as a result of a delay and approach your airline for compensation for meals, refreshments and accommodation.  If your flight is cancelled, ask your airline for a refund or an alternative flight.  Lost baggage and travel delay are key components of most travel insurance policies but do shop around before buying and do check the terms and conditions to ensure there are no exclusions that could affect you.  Travel insurance is there to assist when it goes wrong so it makes sense to have some cover in place whenever you travel.

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