Sometimes flying does not always go to plan, whether delayed or cancelled, a flight change can create serious issues for many. 

For those who are unable to get transport on the same day and are forced to stay the night, you might think your only option is to make the airport your home for the night.

But under UK law, you may be able to get a hotel for the night that your airline has to cover the costs of.

Will my airline pay for a hotel if my flight is cancelled?

Under UK law, those affected have legal rights that oblige the airlines to provide support to customers flying from a UK airport, arriving in the country on an EU or UK airline, or arriving at an EU airport on a UK airline.

Sharing advice on the issue, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said that in the case of a “significant delay”, the airline must provide a reasonable amount of food and drink, commonly in the form of vouchers, refunds for the cost of calls, and accommodation for passengers stuck overnight and transport to a hotel or their home.

A significant delay is defined as more than two hours for a short-haul flight of under 1,500km, more than three hours for a medium-haul of up to 3,500km, and more than four hours for long-haul flights.

You can read the CAA's full guidance and advice on your rights via its website.

Airlines are required to pay compensation if flights arrive more than three hours late, but only when it is their fault.

This means that the air traffic control problems could fall under the definition of “exceptional circumstances” and therefore the carriers would be exempt from paying out.

What happens if you miss your flight due to airport delays

Read more guidance about how to claim compensation for flight delays and cancellations.

The CAA has also said that it accepts that airlines are sometimes unable to organise some of the support outlined above so passengers should make their own “reasonable” arrangements like keeping receipts to claim money back.

The authority adds that “luxury hotels and alcohol” are unlikely to be paid for but some airlines provide guidance on reasonable costs.

If you are re-routed the next day, accommodation (usually in a nearby hotel), as well as transport to and from the accommodation (or your home, if you are able to return there), should also be provided.

Passengers should also note that if they accept a refund or to travel later than the first available flight, then the airline is not obliged to provide food, drink or accommodation.