Advice for passengers as Luton Airport closed following car park fire - and who pays for damage?

Passengers at Luton Airport car park fire.
Credit: PA
Tens of thousands of passengers are facing disruption. Credit: PA

Up to 25,000 passengers' travel plans have been thrown into chaos by the closure of Luton Airport in the aftermath of a car park fire.

Some 140 flights have been cancelled over Tuesday night and Wednesday, with many flights which were already in the air diverted to alternative airports including Stansted, Liverpool, Cardiff and Manchester.

On Wednesday the airport said no flights would arrive or depart until 3pm at the earliest.

So what is the advice to passengers - and who is likely to pay for the damaged vehicles?

I'm due to fly from Luton Airport - what should I do?

Passengers booked on flights due to depart before 3pm on Wednesday are advised not to go to the airport, as access to the site is still restricted.

Anyone who has questions about a parked vehicle or a future booking should email

A spokesman said: "Our priority remains supporting the emergency services and the safety of our passengers and staff. We’re working hard to get the airport operational as soon as possible."

The airport's website and social media channels are being updated with the latest information.

However, even if flights resume as expected on Wednesday afternoon, industry experts have warned that the knock-on disruption could last for days as airlines try to get people home.

Passengers due to fly from Luton Airport on Tuesday and Wednesday have faced uncertainty. Credit: PA

How can I get to the airport?

Access to the airport was restricted overnight and into the early morning as firefighters battled the blaze, eventually extinguishing it by 9am.

At 2pm, the airport said the first passengers were being allowed back into the terminal and the first flights were on schedule to depart from 3pm.

Airport staff had "worked hard to get the airport operational", said a spokesman.

"For those arriving by car, the long and mid-stay car parks are fully operational, and a temporary drop-off area has been established in the mid-stay car park.

"For those travelling to the airport by rail, the Dart shuttle remains out of service with replacement buses in operation.

"Additional staff remain on hand to assist passengers across the airport."

Passengers have been settling in for the day at Luton Airport as they await news of their flights. Credit: PA

Who will pay for the damage to the cars?

Most vehicle owners will be covered by their individual insurance policies, according to the Association of British Insurers.

A spokesman said: “Owners of vehicles caught up in this fire will naturally be very concerned.

“Comprehensive and third-party fire and theft motor insurance policies will cover fire damage.

“Drivers affected should notify any claim to their motor insurer. We will continue to work with our members and Luton Airport to understand the situation, as and when more information becomes available."

The spokesman said it was "too early" to estimate the insured cost of the fire.

On holiday insurance, the spokesman added: “Travellers caught up in the disruption following the fire should check the position with their air carrier or travel operator.

“Some travel polices may offer limited cover for delays or any abandonment of travel.”

What are my rights if my flight was cancelled?

Travel expert Simon Calder said passengers whose flights had been cancelled were in theory entitled to be put on another flight - but that in practice it was not always possible.

"Under the European Air Passenger Right Rules everybody whose flight is cancelled has a right to be flown to their destination as soon as possible, on any airline that is available," he told ITV News Anglia.

"They also have an entitlement to be put in a hotel and given their meals.

"However it's a lot easier to say that than it is to happen when you've had disruption on such a huge scale."

This advice applies not only to passengers leaving from Luton on Tuesday or Wednesday, but to those returning to the airport.

Many flights were diverted to other UK airports, including Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester, Gatwick and Stansted.

I have a booking at the car park that was destroyed - what should I do?

Anyone with bookings at the Terminal Car Park 2, which partially collapsed in the fire, is asked to email for support.

Those whose cars are parked in the fire-hit car park - and do not yet know if their car was badly damaged - may be contacted by the airport directly.

A spokesman on Thursday said that the airport was attempting to make contact with as many vehicle-owners as possible, to give them an update and make arrangements for them to recover their car.

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