“We don’t use the word cancelled, we use the word delayed in case people start wanting their money back etc”
So said someone who appears to work in check-in for Virgin at Manchester on the www.v-flyer.com forum (an unofficial site for Virgin fans).
Maybe the lady is not who she claims and we doubt that it is the written policy of Virgin, or any other airline for that matter, but most airlines are very reluctant to announce a flight has been cancelled. The EU law on airline passenger rights gives much higher claim figures for a passenger suffering a last-minute cancellation than for a simple delay.
If you find yourself departing a few hours later on a flight with a different number or taking a different route or airline, then it is highly likely that your flight has been cancelled, not delayed – whatever the airline says.
You should remember that airlines have numerous get-outs to avoid paying compensation. The standard one is that whatever caused the initial problem was beyond their control. This can include weather, strikes or technical issues. However, if you feel that an airline has simply cancelled a flight for its own reasons (maybe a light load which is easy to transfer to a later flight), you should look at www.auc.org.uk which is the CAA site explaining the EU laws. If the airline sticks by its story, you could also consider using the services of a specialist claims-chasing company, www.euclaim.co.uk. We would not normally recommend “ambulance-chasing” law firms but this company appears to have a good reputation and does not make an initial charge for its service.