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Simon Calder issues advice on flight cancellations and compensation as air traffic chaos continues

Simon Calder issues advice on flight cancellations and compensation as air traffic chaos continues

A fire at a car park at Luton Airport has caused major disruption for travellers – resulting in several questions around flight compensation, travel insurance and your rights amid the chaos.

More than 100 firefighters battled through the night to extinguish the car park inferno, which left tens of thousands of passengers facing cancelled or diverted flights.

The fire, which broke out at a terminal car park late on Tuesday, saw 23 incoming flights diverted overnight, with around 30,000 people impacted in total.

Inevitably there have been knock-on effects from the closure and many stranded travellers have been left wondering whether they can claim compensation and what airlines are required to do to help them.

Others are understandably concerned about the state of their vehicles that were in or near the burning car park.

During an “Ask Me Anything” session for The Independent, travel correspondent Simon Calder tackled a wide range of questions from readers worried about their holiday plans and how they would be impacted by the outage.

Q: My car is stuck on car park level 1. What do I do?


A: Clare, a worrying time for you and all other car owners.

Car Park 2 was the one that had the fire, but Car Park 1 is adjacent and its entrance/exit is blocked by the damage and recovery work.

But from first light this morning, the airport has been working to install a new, temporary ramp to Car Park 1. When I left that area 90 minutes ago they were well advanced and I hope vehicle movements will begin soon.

Q: We are flying from Luton tomorrow and haven’t heard anything about our flight – what do you think we should do?


A: You are in a relatively strong position. The key airlines at Luton – easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air – are doing all they can to make sure they can operate full schedules to and from the airport from Thursday onwards. Having talked to airport and fire officials, it seems there will now be no safety or logistical reasons why that should not happen – though access will be constrained due to the fire-related work.

Anyone, like you, with a confirmed reservation for a Thursday is in a much stronger position than the tens of thousands of people whose Tuesday night/Wednesday flights were cancelled. They go to the back of the queue and must try to grab the few available seats on future flights.

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