Airport disruptions – What Can You Can And Can’t Claim Against23 Nov 2018

Airport disruptions – what can you can and can’t claim against

When travelling, disruptions are bound to happen, for everything to run smoothly and on time is normally a miracle, but you don’t mind the slight disruption to the trip as usually it doesn’t affect you much, but every so often you face a disruption that can ruin everything, and the last thing you want before travelling is the fear of it being delayed, cancelled or anything else to stop you getting to your destination. So we’ve put together some examples of disruptions you’ll be able to claim against and those that you won’t, to help avoid any confusion.


What you can’t claim against (Protected against the regulation)

Unfortunately not much can be done when Mother Nature gets involved. It’s near impossible for flights to occur in the middle of a heavy snow storm or whilst there is a hurricane casually passing by. Known as an “Act of God” these disruptions by Mother Nature tend to let the airlines off the hook if they are forced to cancel or delay flights, which is understandable, after all, safety first. Sometimes airlines like to use the excuse of weather as a reason for disruption, and if it transpires other flights were able to depart and the airline was overexaggerating about the weather, compensation can be claimed for. These extraordinary circumstances that cause delays and cancellations are less common but nevertheless are one of the reasons you could be denied access to compensation.

What other extraordinary circumstances aren’t covered, meaning you won’t be entitled to compensation?

Instances such as military unrest, terrorism and sabotage, although unlikely, can happen, meaning compensation cannot be given if they occur. The same applies if union strikes occur, airports become flooded or there is a hidden manufacturing defect that causes a delay or cancellation.

Adverse weather conditions prove to be the most impactful and most common cause of disruption. Adverse weather conditions include, but are not limited to: –

  • Snow
  • Icy conditions
  • Fog/Mist (Poor visibility)
  • Thunderstorms
  • Tsunami
  • Earthquake
  • Extreme Turbulence

Bird strikes are one of the more unusual situations which can result in disruptions. Historically courts will always tend to side with the airlines when it comes to claiming compensation for this reason, but there has been some success with specific cases where compensation has been successfully reclaimed against an airline. Other more crystal-clear issues such as an Airport closure and medical emergencies are more self-explanatory, and you will be unlikely able to claim anything.

Security concerns are listed as, but not limited to: –

  • The need to delay or divert the aircraft due to an unruly passenger
  • Closure of an airport
  • Acts of terrorism (Discovery of an explosive or hi-jacking the aircraft)

Less extraordinary circumstances such as staffing issues and technical issues are completely down to the airline, therefore you’ll be able to have a case to claim compensation for the disruption. Staffing issues are entirely down to the airline. If staff do not turn up for work, are ill or the aircraft received poor operational planning resulting in under-staffing causing delays or cancellation, then passengers are likely able to claim. Technical issues also are able to be controlled by the airline and if issues arise due to a failure to monitor or maintain their systems in accordance to what is required, compensation could be claimed.

Passengers are always unsure on whether or not they qualify for compensation. Was the rain heavy enough to warrant a cancellation? Were staff really late? Questions that go through passengers minds when they find out about the disruption, but it’s more or less relatively simple, especially when we at airFaircan help. Delays can happen for many reasons, and traditionally there is something that can be done to help, but unless you encountered any of the adverse weather conditions above, it’s unlikely you’ll receive anything.


Airport disruptions – what can you can and can’t claim against

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