Ferry Delays – Your rights
If you have been severely inconvenienced by a delayed ferry, then you have a right to claim compensation from your ferry company. Depending on how long you have been delayed for, you will be entitled to 25% or 50% of the ticket price. This is monetary compensation for the parts of your journey that were affected by the delay.
You are entitled to this 25% compensation if your journey was:
- Up to four hours long, and you were delayed for one hour.
- Between four to eight hours, and you were delayed for two hours.
- Between eight to 24 hours and you were delayed for three hours.
- More than 24 hours and you were delayed for six hours.
It is important to note that if the delay time is double than listed, you will be entitled to a compensation of 50% of your original ticket price.
When you make a ferry delays compensation claim, ferry companies must pay you the amount you deserve within one month.
However, if the ferry delay was caused by severe weather conditions that make sailing the ship dangerous, then the ferry company does not have to pay you compensation. This is also true for unavoidable and extraordinary conditions that prevented the ship operating.
Also note that if the amount of compensation you will be due is less than €6 (£5.23), then the ferry company does not have to pay.
You should be informed as quickly as possible if the ferry operator thinks the ferry will be cancelled or delayed. If this happens on the day you are supposed to travel, you should be told no later than thirty minutes after your original departure time.
Food and drink for delayed ferries
Whilst you are waiting, you should be given free snacks, drinks, refreshments and meals that are relative the time you have waited. This will typically start to apply after ninety minutes of delays. A hot meal should be given to you if the delay is for more than eight hours.
Even if the reason for the delay is bad weather, you should still be provided with the necessary food. It is important to note that food and drink can only be provided when available and can be reasonably supplied. At times this can be affected by conditions such as the time of day, how close the ferry terminal is to local services and the facilities available at the port.
It is suggested that reasonable refreshments will initially include water, teas and coffees followed by snacks and or a light meal.
Ferry cancellation rights
Usually when your ferry is cancelled, then you will be offered one of two choices. Your ferry company will either give you an alternative ferry to board as soon as they can. This should be of no extra cost to you. They can also offer to provide you with a full refund of the original ticket price. This reimbursement must be paid within seven days.
Please note that if you do choose to go for an alternative sailing, then you will still be entitled to claim compensation for the delay to your original journey.
Overnight accommodation for cancelled ferries
For a cancelled ferry, you should also be given meals and refreshment as with delayed ferries. If an overnight stay becomes essential because of your cancellation or delay, then ferry companies must give you free accommodation if they can. This can be either on board the ferry or nearby ashore.
If needs be, your ferry company can allow you to make your own travel and accommodation plans. They can then offer to reimburse any expenses that you have afterwards. Some companies may set a limit on your accommodation costs. This can be around €80 (£69.71) per night for a maximum of three. This will be per individual passenger.
Please note if the delay is caused by dangerous weather conditions then the ferry company does not have to provide overnight accommodation or reimbursement.
How to make a ferry delays compensation claim
In the first instance, it is best to contact your ferry company directly and quickly. Usually within the first two months of the delay.
Start by writing to the company. Tell them your concerns and raise a complaint on how you were affected by the delay and why you would like compensation.
Within the first month of your complaint, your ferry company should respond to you. They should let you know if your claim had been rejected, accepted or is still being dealt with. If it is being considered, a final response should be given to you within two months of your original claim.
What is my claim is rejected?
If you are not happy with your ferry company or do not think they have acted accordingly, then you can take your claim further.
If they do not respond, reject your claim or are unable to address the complaint then you can contact ABTA, the Travel Association which is also the official complaints and claims organisation. Alternatively, you can contact us using the contact form on our website and we will start the claim process for you.