Was your flight delayed by bad weather? | FairPlane UK / 05.03.2018

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Was your flight delayed by bad weather? | FairPlane UK image

Thankfully we’re now starting to see an end to the recent spate of artic weather that has led to widespread travel chaos across the UK.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled and many airports up and down the country were closed for business.

The widespread disruption to flight schedules had wide reaching effects and has undoubtedly left many, who’s flights were either delayed or cancelled, wondering what their consumer rights are in these circumstances.

Are you owed compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight due to bad weather?

The so called ‘Beast from the East’ wreaked havoc across the UK with British Airways alone cancelling aver 100 flights.

So when extreme weather like ice and snow lead to flight cancellations and lengthy delays, are you able to make a claim for compensation?

Unfortunately, the answer in the majority of cases will be ‘No’. It’s highly unlikely that you would be entitled to make a claim in a situation like this, where what the law calls “extraordinary circumstances” are to blame.

In short, these are circumstances that are deemed to be beyond the control of the airlines and therefore they cannot be held accountable for any resulting delays or cancellations.

No compensation in extreme circumstances

As well as extreme weather conditions, here are some of the other situations that would be considered extraordinary:

  • Strikes/ Industrial action by ground or air traffic control staff
  • A passenger or a member of the cabin crew being taken sick
  • Political unrest, terror attacks or other security risks

In some cases there could be grounds to contest the airlines plea of “extraordinary circumstances”, and we’ve certainly come across many cases in the past where an airline has cynically tried to avoid paying compensation by unfairly claiming that the reason for the delay or cancellation was “beyond their control”.

However, in circumstances like these where bad weather is at the root of the problem, you would probably need to demonstrate that another airline had been operating the same service on the same day without any issues, before you could cry 'foul'.

Will my Travel insurance cover me for a delayed flight?

Despite the fact that a successful claim for flight compensation would be unlikely in circumstances where extreme weather was the cause of your delay or cancellation, your own travel insurance (provided you’ve taken it out of course) may well pay out.

Policies do of course vary in regards to their coverage, so please check the small print, but a delay of eight to 12 hours will normally mean you qualify for some money from your insurer.

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