Passengers suffer severe disruption as car park fire closes Luton airport 

Around 25,000 airline passengers are suffering disruption as Luton Airport remains closed because a vehicle fire caused a car park to collapse

Analysis from the news agency, PA Media, using flight data websites found at least 140 flights due to take off or land at the Bedfordshire airport have been cancelled since the fire started shortly before 9pm on Tuesday.

A further 17 arrivals were diverted to airports as far away as Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester. Flights are now suspended until at least 3pm today and passengers booked on flights due to depart before then are advised not to go to the airport.

Nikki Stopford, co-founder of Consumer Voice, said:

‘The fire at Luton airport will continue to cause severe disruption to passengers, airport and airline staff throughout the day. While passengers aren’t entitled to compensation for any delays or cancellations they are entitled to help rebooking new flights, as well as transport, food and accommodation costs if they’re facing significant delays.’

Can you claim compensation for the problems at Luton airport?

Typically when your flight is delayed or cancelled within 14 days of departure you may be entitled to compensation. But you won’t be eligible for compensation if it wasn’t the airline’s fault – things like extreme weather or airport / airport or air traffic control strikes / security threats. 

Given the disruption at Luton airport has been caused by a vehicle fire causing the car park to collapse, affected passengers are not entitled to compensation. 
Read our guide for more information on when you are entitled compensation.

What you are entitled to following the Luton airport fire 

The airline you’re flying with should look after you if your flight is significantly delayed, whatever the reason for the delay. 

A significant delay is waiting more than two hours for short-haul, more than three hours for medium haul and more than four hours for long haul. In these circumstances you will be entitled to things like:

  • Food and drink – many airlines will provide vouchers for you to buy food and drink.
  • Accommodation – you might be booked a hotel to stay in if your delay is overnight.
  • Transport – you could be refunded travel costs to and from home or to the hotel.
  • Phone calls – if necessary, you can be refunded the cost of necessary calls.

Stopford said, ‘”Airlines must step up and support passengers who are stranded as a result of this fire. If the airlines can’t provide you with what you need, it is reasonable for you to make your own arrangements and claim it back from the airline. Just remember to keep receipts and be reasonable with your spending.” 

The airline regulator – the Civil Aviation Authority – says that if your airline is unable to arrange care and support for you then it is reasonable for you to arrange your own and claim costs back later. It’s important to keep receipts and be reasonable with your costs – an airline is unlikely to pay for luxury accommodation or alcoholic drinks.

How to claim back expenses 

You need to make your claim directly with the airline you were due to travel with. You typically need to have your flight details and booking reference to make a claim. Tell the airline what went wrong and what you want. Include copies of tickets and receipts if necessary.

Your airline should have a compensation claims form for you to complete. Our guide has links to the expense claim forms for popular airlines flying from and to UK destinations:

Related claims

Google Play Store app on smart phone

Google Play Store

Google faces a £920m consumer claim for excessive Play Store charges. Sign up for updates if you bought apps on your android since 1 October 2015.

Man on landline in BT compensation claim

BT Landline

BT sued for up to £1.3 billion in a claim representing 3.7m customers who were overcharged. Sign up to stay updated if you are or have been a BT landline customer.

South Western trains

South Western trains

South Western train companies are being sued for £57m for overcharging millions of rail passengers. Sign up to stay updated.