• 30.August.2023
  • 2 min
  • By: Steve Reid

During the summer bank holiday weekend, the UK experienced an air traffic control issue that has caused disruptions and delays across its airspace. With a network that handles thousands of flights daily, even the slightest glitch can trigger a domino effect, affecting both airlines and passengers. Passengers are being warned to expect significant delays, despite the air traffic glitch being fixed. The fault identified affected the system’s ability to automatically process flights plans, which resulted in staff inputting them manually. As this could not be done at the same speed, traffic flow restrictions were enforced.  

The incident highlights the delicate balance that air traffic control authorities must maintain. For passengers this means possible delays and cancellations, and whilst this can be frustrating, it’s important to stay informed and patient during these disruptions, as the backlog of flights are rescheduled.  

If you’re due to fly in or out of the UK, check your flight with your airline. If you’re at the airport already, keep a close eye on the departure screens. If your flight is delayed due to air traffic control, this is considered an “extraordinary circumstance”, which means the airline doesn’t have to offer compensation. However, if your flight was a short-haul flight (under 932 miles) and is delayed by two hours or more, the airline must offer assistance under UK law. 

For longer flights up to 2,175 miles, the delay must be more than three hours. For long-haul flights (over 2,175 miles) the delay must be four hours or more to get assistance. Airlines have a duty to provide: 

  • Two free phone calls, faxes or emails (usually refunding the cost of your calls) 
  • Free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay (usually in voucher form) 
  • Free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required. 

However, airlines may not be able to offer this assistance to all passengers straight away, which means you may end up paying yourself. If you do pay for these yourself, you should keep every receipt and not spend more than is reasonable. 

Dave Hydon, AirTravelClaim.com Customer Engagement Director said, “We understand the frustration passengers are experiencing as they wait to hear more about the ongoing delays. We encourage passengers who are due to fly in or out of the UK later this week, to check your flight with your airline before departing for the airport to avoid any unnecessary disappointment.” 


Steve Reid is a seasoned traveler and passionate advocate for passenger rights. With years of experience navigating the skies, Steve has become an expert in understanding the intricacies of flight delays, cancellations, and compensation.

As the go-to authority on all things related to air travel compensation, Steve brings a wealth of knowledge to our blog. Whether you’re seeking advice on claiming compensation or understanding your rights, Steve's insights give practical advice when things don't go as planned with air travel.

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn to stay updated on the latest travel news and receive expert advice.

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