LONDON, March 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
This Easter Columbus Direct is reducing the threshold for its exclusive airport delay benefit from two hours to just an hour. Between March 24th and April 2nd Columbus customers who experience an announced delay to their flight of an hour or longer will qualify for complementary access to one of 500 independent airport lounges in over 100 countries.
As the Easter getaway approaches, Columbus Direct has found that an average of one passenger in 16  experienced an airline departure delay of at least an hour over the same period last year.
Data analysed by Columbus from its global flight-tracking partner, FlightStats, has revealed that over 11,000 European flights (6 per cent) were delayed by at least an hour over Easter in 2015, compared with 7,012 (4 per cent) in 2014  - a rise of 2 per cent.
Based on a full Airbus A320 carrying up to 180 passengers, this means over 3 million passengers across Europe have experienced a delay of at least an hour or more over Easter in the last two years.
Last Easter tens of thousands of passengers were affected when strikes by air traffic controllers in France led to hundreds of flights being either delayed or cancelled.
Customers who register details of their outbound and return flights with Columbus will gain automatic access to a lounge using a single-use electronic barcode should there be an announced flight delay of at least an at least an hour.
Alison Wild, Head of Travel at Columbus Direct said: "Easter is a popular time for overseas travel as holidaymakers seek to take advantage of two short working weeks. However with incidents such as adverse weather, strikes, and increased security measures each having the potential to negatively impact flight departures, there is always a small risk that passengers might experience some kind of delay as a result.
"Although this is outside of an airline's direct control we appreciate that any delays experienced at the airport can be frustrating for customers. We hope that the ability to escape to a lounge can deliver some more immediate compensation, not to mention a touch of luxury, for families if they're subject to a delay."
Based on data from FlightStats (http://www.flightstats.com).
 Estimated number of affected passengers based on 6% of European flights delayed in 2015 and based on a typical Airbus A320 at full capacity (180). 6% = 1/16.
 Of 184,473 European flights tracked between 30th March and 12th April 2015 inclusive, 6% of European flights (11,068 flights) were subject to a delay of between 1 and 2 hours
 Of 175,317 flights tracked between 14th April and 27th April 2014 inclusive, 4% of European flights (7,012 flights) were subject to a delay of between 1 and 2 hours
 Based on 11,068 + 7,012 (i.e. total flights delayed 2014/2015) x 180 (assuming an Airbus A320 at full capacity) = 3,254,400 passengers delayed over 2 years.
Notes to editors
Columbus Direct is a leading travel insurance specialist which was established in 1988 selling both online via http://www.columbusdirect.com and offline via call centre channels. We have a history of innovation in the industry, including being the first company to sell travel insurance direct to the consumer in the UK and also the first to fully sell a policy online.
Customer satisfaction and value for money are the driving forces behind Columbus Direct and we pride ourselves on providing a quick, efficient and hassle-free service.
We have covered over 15 million holidaymakers since 1988 and our latest customer surveys show that over 95% of customers would recommend us to their friends and family.
Columbus has won multiple awards including Best Online Travel Insurance Provider in the Your Money awards 2014 and 2012, ITIJ Travel Insurance Intermediary of the year 2013, 2012 and 2010, 13 Which? Best Buy awards, The Best Customer Focus Award from the Best Business awards, and also the Best Travel Insurance Provider award from the Personal Finance Awards 2011 and 2012.
Columbus Direct is a specialist travel insurance intermediary which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
FlightStats is a cutting-edge data services company focused on commercial aviation. They are the leading provider of real-time global flight data to companies and individuals across the travel ecosystem.
The company delivers flight tracking and airport data that powers many of the world's most popular travel applications. The company also provides web and mobile applications to the FlightStats community, helping travelers to better manage their day of travel. FlightStats' data is viewed by millions of people each month, and the company is constantly evolving to offer the best worldwide communication and data services to travelers, including the airlines, agencies and developers who serve them.
SOURCE Columbus Direct