Your flight angels

Jakub Ladra, CEO

If you’ve ever experienced a flight disruption and claimed your compensation with an airline, you were most probably confronted with a term extraordinary circumstances at least once. It can be also referred to as “force majeure”, or “act of God”, but whatever we call it, it’s the most common tricky phrase used by airlines to refuse your claims even if you are legally entitled to compensation.

I promise that once you read this post, it’ll never happen to you again because I’ll tell you all the secrets that are hidden behind this magic formula. In fact, I’m going to reveal our own know-how as this topic is an important part of our training program for new employees.

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Let’s begin with a brief history.

The term of extraordinary circumstances first emerged in the Montreal Convention (Convention for the unification of certain rules for international carriage by air). Subsequently, it was adopted by the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004  which has shaped an interpretation of this term primarily in relation to all EU outbound flights as well as to EU inbound flights operated by EU-based airlines.

The legislation specifies that an operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay you any financial compensation for a delayed or canceled flight, if it can prove that the delay or the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

Seems messy? Be sure it is.

Although we’ve helped thousands of travelers, we still have endless internal discussions at ClaimAir about this single issue.

Having said that, if you want to successfully claim your compensation by yourself instead of using our risk-free service, you simply need to go deeper and understand core principles used by National Enforcement Bodies or relevant courts, who are the only entities responsible for the evaluation of these events on a case-by-case basis.

No worries, I’ll tell you later in this article all details you need to know.

First, let’s dissect this legal provision.

You always have a right to care, reimbursement, or alternate flight Click To Tweet

It’s clear that it covers only financial compensation, so even if extraordinary circumstances occur, you still have a right to care (meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation), reimbursement of your flight ticket, or alternate flight.

Remember the volcano eruptions in Iceland in 2010 and 2014? Many airlines almost got bankrupted because they had to take care of their passengers.

In case your flight is affected by volcanic eruption, airlines must take care of you

The provision also speaks solely about flight delays and cancellations. So, when airlines deny you boarding (e.g. as a result of overbooking a flight), extraordinary circumstances are out of the game.

Airlines must always pay you compensation unless they give you clear evidence of extraordinary event

Airlines must prove that the delay or cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

How can anyone know whether such an event could have been avoided? And how reasonable should reasonable measures be? Of course, most passengers don’t have the answer to this.

Not only is it difficult to answer these questions, but it’s also usually impossible to get these details from airlines.

They are obliged to provide you with evidence of extraordinary circumstances and what measures have been put in place in order to avoid them, but they regularly break the law with hopes that people will give up rather than continue pursuing their claim.

Airlines must always pay you compensation unless they give you clear evidence of extraordinary event Click To Tweet

It was also pointed out by a court that an airline can be required to organize its resources in good time so that it’s possible to operate a scheduled flight once the extraordinary circumstances have ceased.

It means that even though extraordinary circumstances really occurred, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a reason for an airline to be exempted from paying financial compensation.

For instance, when there is a strike of air traffic controllers (which is extraordinary circumstance certainly) that comes to an end half a day before your scheduled time of departure, an airline has to be ready to operate your flight as scheduled. If it doesn’t happen, the occurrence of extraordinary circumstances doesn’t count and an airline is obliged to pay you financial compensation.

Given this fact, your initial aim is to get evidence of the extraordinary circumstances.

Once you have it, you’ll need to figure out how to work with it.

Believe me, this step can be pretty challenging itself.

Incomplete or vague reasons of flight disruptions are always suspicious

As a rule of thumb, when airlines refuse to provide you with evidence of the reason behind flight delay or cancellation, it means they have something to hide, which is always suspicious.

Some examples of vague or incomplete explanations are: “operational issues”, “airport limitations”, or “unexpected flight safety shortcoming”.

Nobody knows what this means so it would be impossible even for courts to make a decision whether it’s extraordinary or not.

Evidence of bad weather is NOT a business secret

You may also face an airline claiming its inability to provide you with official evidence is due to internal policy or confidential information.

Nice try, airline!

The proof should be provided free of charge in line with national provisions regarding access to documents. And no, a weather report is not confidential information.

When an airline provides you with clear evidence of extraordinary circumstances, it’s usually true and conclusive.

Now I can hear you asking: “What can be considered clear evidence? How can I trust the airline doesn’t lie to me?”.

The evidence must be either from official sources, like logbooks, incident reports, or from independent third parties like airports and air traffic controllers.

It can also be helpful to listen to the captain before your flight takes off. He usually doesn’t have any reason to deceive you, so you can later consider his statement when evaluating an airline’s claim.

Once, we received the following “certificate of flight irregularity” issued by Hainan Airlines itself.

This is the EPIC guide on what to do when your flight is delayed or cancelled

The airline really thought that we would accept such self-issued evidence and close the case.

There’s no way we would give up that easily.

We took the case to court and it turned out that the bad weather argument was just an airline’s attempt to hide a technical problem with an aircraft.

As a result, our clients were given €600 compensation each.

On the other hand, once you get the evidence from official and independent sources, my recommendation is to trust them.

Even when you believe that weather wasn’t bad enough to impede a flight, airlines aren’t always the bad guys. The aviation system is complex and an event behind your flight disruption is sometimes really out of their effective control, so you can’t always blame them.

When is extraordinary really extraordinary?

This is the million dollar question. Literally!

But I have the answer and I’ll give it to you for free.

Ready? This is going to be challenging.

There are countless discussions and definitions all over the internet, which can be pretty misleading as this issue evolves all the time (that’s why this post is regularly updated, so don’t worry about it being up to date here!).

As previously stated, the basis has been established by the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.

As time went by since 2004, there have been many judgments by the Court of Justice of the European Union that have further ruled and clarified the term “extraordinary circumstances”.

Moreover, there are also so-called National Enforcement Bodies (NEB) in every EU member state. These are entities responsible for the enforcement of the regulation and perform surveillance of airlines regarding the rights of air passengers.

They held a meeting in 2013 when they released a document called “Draft list of extraordinary circumstances”.

It’s just a simple PDF document, and as usual, they didn’t forget to mention that it’s just for information and guidance and that the list of extraordinary circumstances is non-exhaustive and non-binding.

Well done, European Union.

It has done more harm than good. For example, the “unexpected flight safety shortcomings” mentioned earlier came from this document. And of course, airlines have immediately started using it for their own sake – referring to this misleading document and more importantly, wrongly pretending the list is exhaustive and legally binding.

This is what Her Honour Judge Melissa Clarke recently said when ruling a lightning strike court case:

“I give no weight to the list. It is not legally binding. It is clear from its long list of deletions and amendments, arising from changes enforced upon it by decided cases, that the Civil Aviation Authority’s view on what should be considered extraordinary circumstances for the purposes of Article 5(3) has often been at odds with that of the courts. I cannot see that it helps me at all.”

But there is still one paragraph that I found useful when determining the essence of a disruptive event:

The extraordinary event has to be unpredictable, unavoidable and external Click To Tweet

The Court of Justice of the European Union took this further since the following statement repeatedly appeared in its judgments:

The extraordinary event is not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier and is beyond the actual control of that carrier on account of its nature or origin.

It isn’t rocket science and if you remember these core principles, you’ll be able to determine the most exceptional events by yourself.

I’ve put together the following list of all possible events, so you get an idea how to deal with your specific situation.

The list is based on all judgments, interpretative guidelines, our own experience at ClaimAir, and the hundreds of comments on this blog post. I hope you’ll find it helpful.

Technical problem with an aircraft

Airlines must pay compensation in case of technical problems with an aircraft

The Wallentin-Hermann case (C-549/07) clarified that a technical problem with an aircraft that was detected during aircraft maintenance or that is caused by failure to maintain an aircraft can’t be considered an extraordinary circumstance.

The van der Lans case (C-257/14) opened this issue again, and finally on September 17, 2015, it was settled that even though a technical problem occurs unexpectedly, since no component of an aircraft lasts forever, dealing with technical problems is inherent in the normal exercise of the airline’s activity. It really can’t be regarded as an extraordinary circumstance.

Hidden manufacturing defect

A hidden manufacturing defect is a kind of technical problem with an aircraft that establishes grounds for extraordinary circumstances.

The difference with the above-mentioned “common technical problem” is that it must be revealed by the manufacturer of the aircraft or by a competent authority.

Airlines are liable for 99% of technical problems with an aircraft and must compensate you for delays Click To Tweet

Be sure it happens rarely, so 99% of technical problems with an aircraft are ordinary ones and therefore out of scope of the extraordinary circumstances definition.

Bad weather conditions

This is the EPIC guide on what to do when your flight is cancelled due to bad weather

This part is both complex and uncertain.

Historically, bad weather conditions were always a basis for extraordinary circumstances as it’s an unavoidable and external event.

However, with a view to other court rulings stating that extraordinary event occurs only when it is not inherent in normal exercise of the airline’s activity, it can be expected that only extreme weather conditions like volcanic eruptions, thunderstorms, hurricanes, etc. will be within the scope of this definition.

Don’t forget that weather conditions need to be evaluated at the airport of departure, the airport of arrival and along the intended flight path of the aircraft.

For now, I’d recommend you request clear evidence of weather conditions incompatible with the safe operation of the flight and if necessary, file a complaint with respective National Enforcement Body.

Lightning strikes

Judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union establish legally binding rulings that must be followed by other courts.

Before such judgements are made, there are usually several lower court and appeal court proceedings. These initial decisions are not legally binding for other courts but they can still give you an overview of how courts are thinking about the issue.

Lightning strikes is exactly such a case.

On January 14, 2016, the appealing Reading County Court in the United Kingdom ruled in favor of passengers Michael Evans and Julie Lee who have sued Monarch Airlines Ltd. The court awarded them €600 each for a five-hour flight delay resulting from a lightning strike that hit and damaged an aircraft.

The decision is based on similar principles like technical problems with an aircraft.

Lightning strikes don’t pose any significant risk to aircrafts and commonly happen all the time. Therefore, it’s again inherent in the normal exercise of the airline’s activity and as such it cannot be considered extraordinary.

If flight disruption is inherent in the normal exercise of the airline’s activity, compensation is due Click To Tweet

As previously mentioned, this ruling isn’t globally binding for other courts.

It’s expected that this decision will be soon followed by a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Until it happens, you must take into account that lightning strikes cases will be ruled on a case-by-case basis. But at least you have an idea how this evolves.

Collision of mobile boarding stairs with an aircraft

This is the EPIC guide on what to do when your flight is delayed or cancelled

This issue was ruled by the Siewert case (C-394/14) confirming that mobile stairs are an indispensable part of air transport and hence inherent in the normal exercise of the airline’s activity. Based on it, a collision of mobile boarding stairs with an aircraft isn’t considered extraordinary circumstances.

One of our commenters raised a question about a truck hitting a plane whilst it was at the gate. I believe that the situation is the same as with mobile boarding stairs.

Bird strikes

This is the EPIC guide on what to do when your flight is delayed or cancelled

This is going to be the blow of the year to airlines which constantly argue that bird strikes are extraordinary circumstances and therefore that financial compensation would not be due.

Following a Czech case, on July 28, 2016 the Court of Justice of the European Union gave an opinion that the court doesn’t consider bird strikes an extraordinary circumstance and therefore airlines should compensate affected passengers.

Although the opinion is not legally binding, it is usually in line with the official judgment that is expected to follow in the coming months.

Personnel strikes

If a strike relates to airline personnel like pilots or cabin crew members, an airline is always liable and this kind of strike cannot be considered an extraordinary circumstance.

The situation is different with strikes unrelated to airlines.

When a strike is held by air traffic controllers, ground handlers, or airport staff, it’s really out of airlines’ effective control and regarded as an extraordinary circumstance.

Crew out-of-hours

There are some restrictions on how long a crew member’s shift can be.

It is a responsibility of airlines to maintain its crew operating limits properly and reserve some time in order to cope with slight delays.

Based on it, crew out-of-hours is not an extraordinary circumstance.

Medical grounds

This is the EPIC guide on what to do when your flight is delayed or cancelled

When a passenger or crew member becomes seriously ill or dies on-board or during the flight, it constitutes grounds for extraordinary circumstances.

Security and in-flight safety issues

War, acts of terrorism or sabotage, political or civil unrest, or general security risks are undoubtedly within the scope of extraordinary circumstances.

Even though technical problems with an aircraft are tightly connected to safety issues, when something wrong occurs with an aircraft during a flight itself, it is considered an extraordinary circumstance as well as it should never normally happen.

Air traffic management

If Air Traffic Control suspends or restricts operations either out of the airport of departure, into the airport of arrival or into or out of a block of airspace through which the air carrier must travel in order to operate the flight, this event can be considered an extraordinary circumstance.

Airport operations and limitations

Several people commented this article with the following reasons for flight disruptions:

  • Flight delayed and diverted due to a hole in the main runway at Gatwick Airport
  • Airport system failure
  • Flight command tower suffered complete system malfunction

All of these events are not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier and are beyond the actual control of that carrier.

Moreover, these events are unpredictable, unavoidable and external.

Based on this, these issues are considered an extraordinary circumstance thus financial compensation is not due.

Other commenters wrote the following reasons for flight delays:

  • Waiting for passengers to board the aircraft
  • Intended baggage offload due to missing passenger

I’m sure you already know the answer… yes, these are certainly within a control of airlines and are a part of their daily routine thus can’t be regarded as extraordinary circumstances.

Delay of previous flight

This one is tricky.

It’s clear that a single event can affect multiple flights by triggering a chain reaction. But it doesn’t mean that an “extraordinary issue” preamble can be called for every flight disruption in the chain.

The Eglītis et Ratnieks court case (Case C-294/10) can be used for this particular scenario. It has mentioned that an airline can be required to organize its resources in good time so that it’s possible to operate a scheduled flight once the extraordinary circumstances have ceased, that is to say, during a certain period following the scheduled departure time.

Airlines should operate the flight once the extraordinary circumstances have come to an end Click To Tweet

In particular, the air carrier should provide for a certain reserve time to operate the flight in its entirety once the extraordinary circumstances have come to an end.

And why is this tricky?

Because such reserve time is assessed on a case-by-case basis, obviously because one size doesn’t fit all.

Imagine that the available resources of airlines will generally be higher at the home base compared to outbound destinations, so a different reserve time is needed.

Still looking for an outcome?

Just follow my first recommendation and require an airline to provide you with clear evidence of extraordinary circumstances. Once you get it, I strongly believe that thanks to this blog post you’ll know how to handle it like an expert.

Also, do remember that you are always entitled to financial compensation unless an airline proves that the delay or cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances.

Need an assistance with claiming flight compensation?
File your claim

Now It’s Your Turn…

Now that you’ve seen how to handle the “extraordinary circumstance” preamble, I’d like to hear from you.

What do you think of the claim process of airlines?

Or maybe you have a question coming from you own experience with air travel.

Either way, leave a comment quick below, I’ll be around to reply to comments and answer questions.

  • Ágnes Sívó

    Hi Jakub,
    Your blog is very helpful!
    I have a recent claim refused by Ryanair.
    I was flying from BUD to BRS, and my flight was delayed by 6hrs. The cause was technical issue, nothing else said at the airport. We got 2 croissants, 1 bar of chocolate, 1 orange and 2×0.5L of water during the 6 hrs wait.
    Once I have filed my claim, they got back to me with the following:
    -‘We note that refreshment vouchers were issued according to the time of delay’
    -‘The delay caused to an unexpected technical fault caused by lighting strike’
    -‘However, as this delay was unexpected and therefore outside of Ryanair’s control (extraordinary circumstances) we regret to advise that no monetary compensation is due.’
    As I read the list of the extraordinary circumstances, the lighting strike is not under technical fault, but not sure if this is a good enough reason to apply for the compensation again?
    Also, the aircraft was already at the gate, we were already checked in, and queuing at the gate, when after 45 minutes of wait the ground crew sent us back to the main lobby. I have seen the pilot & cabin crew arriving on a bus to the aircraft, so it makes me question how extraordinary this technical issue was? I am not an aircraft engineer, but if a lighting strike hits the aircraft, the airline should know about it way before the gates are open…
    I am awaiting for your opinion on this 🙂


    • Hi Agnes, there will always be some issues about what is considered extraordinary and what is not. To keep it short, your case should not be considered extraordinary and Ryanair should pay. There was also a court case in the UK confirming this statement, but since it was ruled by a court of a first instance it can’t be used globally – but it can still give us an idea how courts are thinking. If you like us to pursue the compensation for you, please register your claim through our website. Many thanks, Jakub

  • Matt F

    Hello, thank you for the very informative website – I stumbled across this searching to see if a flight cancellation for a crew that ran out of hours was considered something “within the control of the company”, which is the wording United uses to determine if they will pay for food, lodging, transportation etc…I recently booked a flight that arrived at the gate an hour late, for what they claimed was a weather delay. They asked us to board as quickly as possible as the crew was running up against its limit. We pulled away from the gate and were in line to take off off, but the captain had to pull back to the gate because they would not have gotten off in time. The airline put my on a flight from a different airport the following day, but did not pay for a hotel, food, or transportation costs because they said it was a weather delay(from the previous flight being an hour late). Do I have a case to make that this was within the company’s control and they should reimburse my expenses? It seems like only leaving an hour window when flying into a busy airport(LGA) is taking a very large risk of cancellation. thank you!

    • Hi Matt, I hope you already found the answer in this blog post – yes, “crew out of hours” is not considered extraordinary and the airline is liable. But as you certainly realized, airlines often try to do everything possible to get rid of their responsibility. We would happily mediate the case for you to bring you the compensation… please register your case through our website or reach out to us via claims@claimair.com. Many thanks, Jakub

  • steh-fan

    Hi Jakub, thanks a lot for all the help you’re providing here. I don’t mean to hitchihke Dan’s question here and describe my case, but the question is, what comes after the National Enforcement Bodies that have evaluated the incident? I my case, they (Luftfahrtbundesamt) already did and fined the Airline (Iberia) because they found compensation is due (ironically in the same amount of the due compensation). However, Iberia is still not willing to pay (at first they were, but now send a letter that was sent out in error). I have the case currently reviewed by the German Department of Justice (Schlichtungsstelle), but they only give recommendations. Do I see it correctly the only way after that would be going to court???

    • Hi Stefan, thanks for sharing the details with us. Indeed, the only way is to take the airline to court. It’s a bit ironic that the National Enforcement Bodies can fine airlines for breaching the rights of air passengers but have no power to force them to pay the amount due. Would you like us to litigate your case through our legal partners? Thanks, Jakub

      • steh-fan

        Hi Jakub, thanks for the fast reply. I also find it ironic, that the airline pays the fine to the national enforcement body within days, and let me wait for months, still claiming extraordinary circumstances, even after the enforcement body found otherwise.
        Maybe you can send me the conditions for your legal partners off-line?

        • Hi Stefan, how is it going? Have you settled this matter with the airline?

          • steh-fan

            Hi Jakub, Thanks for asking! Unfortunately, it’s still pending. They did not react to the arbitration process by tbe German ministry of justice, so my only option left os going to small claims court. At the moment I’m uncertain which one I need to go to – my home county, the destination county, or the country the airline is headquartered (which would be Madrid)….

          • It’s true that this can get really complicated and confusing. What’s the value of your claim? There are no lenghty conditions – if we evaluate your claim as economically feasible, we’d take over your case and would forward your case to our legal partners. We work on “no win – no fee” basis, but once legal activity needs to be conducted we ask our clients to pay us the €30 one-time legal fee. We’d then cover all legal costs. Please move this conversation to email – contact us at claims@claimair.com if you’re interested to discuss this more. Thanks, Jakub

  • Mifi Lai

    Hi Jakub,

    I took a flight from Helsinki to Hong Kong,which was delayed for 8 hours.I wrote to compensate from Finnair,they told me the delay was caused by a mistake in manufacturing or design/engineering process.(landing gear hydraulic hoses were broken from both main landing gears,airbus a350).I checked through your article,is one kind of extraordinary circumstances.They agreed to pay me eur200 voucher.Do you think this is a good offer?

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Mifi, as you have mentioned this kind of problem is considered as extraordinery circumstances – because of occurrence of manufacturing defect. Thus, you can try to negotiate in order to get more but you don’t have almost any leverage for it and so it’s probably the best offer which you can get. There would be a possibility to get more via Montreal convention and its Article 19 but only in case of some expenses stemming from the delay like missed connecting flight and was forced to buy a new flight ticket on your own expenses. For that particular case you would get the amount of your expenses in full. Hope it helps and good luck!

  • Paul E

    Hi Jakub,

    I was just wondering if my situation could be considered extraordinary circumstances. On Sunday 5th June I was due to fly MAN-BSL on EasyJet flight 1811. 30 mins prior to departure this flight was cancelled due to a computer failure at Hamburg. The inbound flight I believe was EasyJet flight 1846 from HAM to MAN. Due to the computer failure in Hamburg, this flight was delayed and landed 77 mins late. In its self I would consider a computer failure extraordinary circumstances, however this only delayed the incoming flight, is this grounds for cancelling mine?

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Paul,

      Firstly, I have to mention that the regulation is quite unclear in this matter. Regarding the reason of your flight delay, well it could be considered as a non-extraordinary assuming that problem should has been found during maintenance before the particular flight. However, that it influenced your flight is questionable. By my opinion it shouldn’t be considered as extraordinary circumstance but as I have mentioned, regulation is unclear and thus there might be necessary to have some judgment from CJEU. Let me know if you have any further questions!

      • Paul E

        Sorry I should have clarified a little better. The Inbound fight was delayed due to a failure of Hamburg Airports systems not those of the airline.

        • Jakub Eliáš

          In that case, I would say that it could be an extraordinary circumstance because the airline wasn’t able to prevent it. The flight from HAM to MAN was influenced directly, so extraordinary by my opinion. However, that your flight was cancelled wasn’t directly caused by extraordinary circumstance and so it is possible that it wouldn’t be evaluated as extraordinary circumstance. But again, it is not really clear. Hope it helps a bit

          • Paul E

            Yeah that helps thanks. Still waiting to hear back from them, will push but not get my hopes up.

          • Paul E

            Well I finally heard back. They are claiming “crew issues”, I assume they mean crew out of hours which I believe not to be extraordinary. However they seem to believe different. Here is their response

            “Having looked at the details of your flight EZY 1811, I can confirm that the reason for your disruption was due to crew issue. This event is classified as “extraordinary” under EC Regulation 261/2004 as it was outside of our control. This means that in this instance there is no compensation payable.The compensation rules set by the EU clearly state that if the disruption is within our control you are entitled to compensation and if it considered ‘extraordinary’ then no compensation is payable.”

          • Jakub Eliáš

            Hello Paul, well crew issues aren’t considered as an extraordinary that is clear. However, this happens quite often, airline is trying to refuse even clear facts and relies that most of the people won’t forward the case to the court. For these situations is probably the wisest solution to let the case take over by companies, which are able to take it to the court as for example ClaimAir might be the solution. Let me know in case of any further question and have a nice day Paul!

  • Leon Finn

    Hi Jakob,

    I was recently delayed on a BA flight Mexico city returning to LHR, the incoming flight was struck by lightning, which BA claim as extra ordinary circumstances. It is my understating the claim always relates to the scheduled flight I am claiming for not the actual incoming flight. B.A had hours of foreknowledge (at least 4) that the arriving aircraft would need inspection if a lightning strike did in fact occur. It would appear BA did not use the resources at it disposal to ensure my flight was on time (I.e the intolerable clause) they could of arranged or leased another aircraft, or rescheduled passengers onto flights that at the reported time of the lightening strike to the incoming aircraft had yet to depart from Mexico city?

    I have read many conflicting answers, perhaps a concensus can be offered:
    – is a lightning strike to the incoming aircraft a exceptional circumstances ?
    – do exceptional circumstances incurrred by the prior flight get automatically applied to all subsequent delays to the schedule or is each flight to be assessed seperately.
    – given I checked in at least 3 hours prior to the flight at which point I was given a letter by BA advising the incoming aircraft had flown through a thunderstorm, thereby prior notice exceeding 3 hours did BA use the resources at their disposal

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Leon,
      I’m going to try to answer using regulation 261. Given by the Article 5 (3) – „an operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 7, if it can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.” Meaning that if the operating air carrier cannot prove that it has been done everything to avoid the problem, even extraordinary circumstance should be compensated in accordance with Article 7. However, what “all reasonable measures” mean is unclear and can differ. Recently UK court made a decision in a very similar matter in favour of passengers. So I would say there is a good chance for you to be compensated.

  • O

    Hi Jakub, nice article 🙂

    Question in relation to Strikes which I am confused about due to various information sources which I hope you can answer…

    My current knowledge and situation, please correct if I am wrong:
    1) Strikes by non-airline personnel such as air traffic control, ground personnel, etc are considered as extraordinary circumstances.
    2) Strikes by airline personnel such as pilots, cabin crew, technicians, etc are not considered as extraordinary circumstances.

    SAS this year has had several strikes by their pilots. Last week they announced strikes in Norway and Stockholm. During negotiations in Norway they came to an agreement and there was no Strike. In Sweden the strike was scheduled for Thursday, the negotiations in Sweden were less successful, as they continued the discussions and the pilots rescheduled the strike for Saturday, they never came to an agreement and the Strike took place on Saturday. We only found out about all this afterwards.
    The day before the flight we were send a link by the airline to check-in on line. At night, 9 hours before the flight we were able to check-in online. Arriving at the airport we were informed that the flight was cancelled due to the pilot strike. We were at Gothenburg airport at 5am, flight was originally at 7am, and we were supposed to arrive at our destination in Helsinki 10am with one stop-over. We were given a letter stating that we were entitled to meals and refreshments if the waiting time is longer than 2 hours (is there somewhere stated there is a minimum time before they should offer something?) but the letter mentioned nothing about compensation as written in the law. In the end we were re-routed and were put on a flight departing at 3pm (8 hours later than our original departure time) and arriving at our destination at 11pm, 13 hours later than our original arrival time. We were not offered anything, not sure how they can assume people can be the whole day without drinks or meals.

    Taking the distance into consideration the compensation should be 250€/travelling person for cancellations.

    So in the above situation where it is clearly nothing extraordinary as its simply that the airline has issues with their staff and can’t manage to keep their staff happy and working should we receive the compensation? Or can they really write this of as an extraordinary circumstance?

    • O

      Additionally due to the delay, our work in Helsinki was rescheduled, which meant that the we were not able to use the return flights, with a different airline but booked under the same reservation, and had to book new return flights.
      Should we get a refund for the return flights that were on the same reservation as this was caused by the strike?

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello O :),

      In general, strike is considered as an extraordinary circumstance. Well it’s true that you can compartmentalize it to industrial and airline but it is not specified within the regulation, so some CJEU judgement would be desirable. I mean it is obvious that airline should bear responsibility for strikes of their own employees. Maybe in the future we will see a judgment on this topic, it would be kinda logical conclusion.

      Regarding the mentioned limit on refreshment, that is not true. Article 6 (c) clearly states that the assistance shall be offered in case of flight delay beyond its scheduled time of departure – no time specification.

      That you had to reschedule your flight, in my opinion should not being covered by regulation 261. However, you might try to use Montreal Convention and its Article 19 – because you are able to prove your “damage” or expenses in monetary terms (buying alternative flight ticket) and get the money spent on it back.

      Hope it is at least a bit helpful 😉

  • Zico Broekstra

    Hi Jakub,

    we also had a delay due to a closed runway, it was all over the news; http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-sussex-36512630 .
    We flew from Amsterdam to London and had a connecting flight from London Gatwick to Lima Peru with BA, however we were delayed for over 6 hours which caused for the departure hall to fill up completely. We filled in the form for a compensation for the delay as the flight was from a EU (it still was) airport to an airport outside of the EU that was further than 3500 km away. Also the delay was over 4 hours which should give us right on a € 600,- compensation. However, they also came with the extraordinary circumstances argument. What would you advice, do you reckon we have a chance on a compensation?



    • Hi Zico,

      it can’t be clearly answered as such scenario is not specified anywhere in the legislation. However, the runway closure is a sort of things that is unpredictable, unavoidable and external, so it can fit the definition of extraordinary circumstances, thus making the airline not obligated to pay the financial compensation. So generally speaking, you are not entitled to the compensation unless you pursue your claim through a court or at least the National Enforcement Body.


  • daniel

    Hi Jakub: here is my situation. strike at brussels airport of baggage carriers. we arrive on friday afternoon in strasbourg on time. but our baggages only arrive on monday. Brussels airlines claims extraordinary circumstances – ok fair enough. However it turns out (based on newspaper accounts) that the strike was only a couple of hours long and that by friday evening at 19h an agreement was reached with the union and the carriers were back at work shortly theeafter. Nonetheless we only got our baggages on monday – three days later – obviously because brussels airlines does not have staff working on weekends. what do you think – can we still claim compensation for expenses incurred to make it through the weekend?



    • Hi Daniel, I really thing they work over the weekend and that the delay was caused becouse of the mess the strike caused. Regarding the extraordinary circumstances, the carrier shall not be liable for damage occasioned by delay if it proves that it took all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damage or that it was impossible for it to take such measures. Based on it, unless Brussels Airlines provides you with the clear evidence, they are still liable and should compensate you for your expenses (don’t forget to keep all related receipts). I hope it helps, let me know if we can be of any help. Thanks, Jakub

  • Cognitive Dissonance

    What every one misses is that the regulation says that the airline has to PROVE an exceptional circumstance. This can only be done through an application to a court. No application – no exceptional circumstance. The airline should not get to say for instance what weather conditions constitute an exceptional circumstance. But they do and get away with it.
    The NEBs, and the EC will support the airlines
    The CAA have never once brought any airline to court in regards to the regulation and have no power to fine any airline, despite being the Uk’s NEB.
    In terms of duty of care – the airlines will say that only on the production of receipts will they compensate you. This is also confirmed by the EC. If you are poor, vulnerable, handicapped, don[‘t have the language skills, or just too scared to leave the airport then you sleep on the floor like an animal.
    The European Ombudsman has found this interpretation untenable.It is immoral, illegal and shows the true nature of the EC.
    The EU have done nothing to reign in the EC.
    Make of all this what you will.

  • James MacLean

    Icelandair have claimed the following “On July 27th last the flight command tower at Keflavik Airport suffered complete malfunction which resulted in all aircrafts being restricted from Icelandic Airspace. This caused major disruption to all aircrafts landing and departing from Keflavik Airport on July 27th and into the morning of July 28th”. They have refused me compensation.Does the above explanation fall into the category of extraordinary circumstances?

    • Hi James. Yes, this falls into the category of extraordinary circumstances as it was kind of unpredictable, unavoidable and external issue. Therefore, you are not entitled to the financial compensation but if you had extra expenses as a result of the delay/cancellation (e.g. food, hotel, etc.), the airline must refund you. I hope it helps. Cheers, Jakub

      • James MacLean

        Thanks for your reply. I would think that a backup computer system should be in place. How can the airline claim this is an exceptional circumstance when they are in full control of their set up?

        • You’re welcome, James. From what you wrote, it was the system of air traffic controllers (flight command tower) that broke down… the airline doesn’t have any control over it, thus it is extraordinary. Jakub

          • James MacLean

            Hi Jakub, I really appreciate your help and knowledge. So I have another question relating to my delay. Icelandair posted that there would be a 3 hour delay more than 3 hours before the scheduled departure. At no time did they offer an alternative flight with a diferent carrier. From what I have read under the EU regulations the airline should offer another carrier if they cannot deliver their service. As we were flying with Icelandair from ORD to Iceland and then on with them to London I feel that they should have offered this. What is your opinion on this point.

          • Hi James, since the flight is “just” delayed, it’s still expected that it’s going to be operated. In the case of your long-haul flight (Chicago – Keflavik), there is a trigger of 4-hours delay on a departure when the airline must provide you with a proper care (food, hotel, transfer to the hotel). When the delay is at least 5 hours on a departure, you can request a reimbursement of your flight ticket (and then buy another one on your own expenses). The obligation of alternate re-routing offered by the airline applies only in a case of airline’s inability to operate the flight (e.g. cancellation or denied boarding issues). Of course, if you missed your connecting flight as a result of the initial flight delay, the airline must provide you with re-routing under comparable transport conditions, but this wasn’t probably your case. Is it clear enough? Thanks, Jakub

  • Gwilym Boore

    we are having issues claiming compensation from Air France over a cancelled flight from Lille. They claim the flight was cancelled because of lightening disruption. However, the flight prior to ours was also cancelled as well the flight that was due to leave Lille the following morning. Three flights cancelled over one bit of lightening seems excessive.

    • Hi Gwilym, lightning strikes don’t fall into the category of extraordinary circumstances, so even if it was just a single lightning strike, you are still entitled to the financial compensation. We’d happily claim it on your behalf, let us know anytime. Thanks, Jakub

      • Gwilym Boore

        Hi Jakub – I may well be interested in your service. Have you got an email address that I can contact you on so that we can start a conversation.

        I’ve been away for a couple of weeks hence the delay in replying.

        • Hi Gwilym, now please accept my apology for the late response. Will you be able to register your case in our platform at claimair.com? Of course, you can always send an email to claims@claimair.com. Many thanks, Jakub

  • Ubk

    BA cancelled my flight less than 24 hours before departure. The say this was because of airfield limitations. I asked them for a proof (8 times by now) but they say they don’t provode evidence for data protection reasons? According to the airports no airfield limitations were in place. May BA refuse sending a proof?

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello there,
      Well, they shouldn’t refuse the request. However, it is quite common that the airline refuses to provide any kind of information regarding the flight. So, there are two ways – spamming the airline with the request (probably not very effective) or forward the case to some institution to which the airline is obligated to provide the proof (court or relevant National Enforcement Bodies) – you can use services which will take over your case and communicate with the institutions by themselves as well.

      Hope it helps and good luck!

  • Nebojsa Popovic

    Hi Jakub,
    my father supposed to fly with Croatia Airlines from Belgrade to Split but the original incoming flight flight from Split to Belgrade was couple of times delayed and finally cancelled on that day. They organized new flight next day in the morning hours.
    I sent them complain but they replied that the reason of cancelling was software problem on check-in system on Split airport and therefore they can not pay the compensation.
    Can you please advise if normal functioning of check in software is the responsibility of airline or airport and if this is the acceptable reason? Also, I would like to say that this was flight to Belgrade wad the only one cancelled on that day (some other flights had delays but not cancellations).
    Thank you ion advance

  • Fabio Polieri

    Hi Jakob, I’m italian so please forgive me if I’ll make some mistackes….
    I had a big problem with Lisbon airport; on the 27/08/2016 the chance to take the flight from Lisbon to Roma Ciampino operated by Ryanair was denied to me and my partner because of a Lisbon security staff’s strike.
    Because of this strike there was only a working metal detector and just 3 security staff members at the inspections; this situation caused an huge queue that forced me to stay for 2 hours in line before I could reached the security inspection; so me and my partner were unable to reach the gates at the right time and we have lost our flight. After this inconvenience the Ryanair company has offered us the chance to take another flight, on the 30/08/2016 and we accepted.
    Now I’d like to know who will pay for all the expenses incurred such as hotels, meals and such as, that I had to face from the 27 August 2016 till the 30 August 2016.
    In a confidential email Ryanair says that it rejects any responsability and it won’t recognize me any kind of compensation.
    A strange thing was that Ryanair before saying that thay will not give me nothing, asked me to send them the hotels and meals bill’s. So I did. But than they refused to pay.
    So I called the Italian Civil Aviation Authority call center’s and thay said me that if Ryanair gave me the reprotection on another flight thay must pay me all the expenses incurred from 27 to 30 August.
    Do you think that there is a possible solution to my problem?

    • Hi Fabio, it’s clear without any doubts that Ryanair should have provided you with proper care (meals & refreshments, hotel accommodation, transport from the airport to the hotel) as an addition to the alternate transportation (which was apparently provided). We’ll happily assist you with this and will do our best to get you your money. Will you register your case through our website at claimair.com? When registering the case, please specify the sum of your extra expenses and upload relevant invoices / receipts. Let me know if you need some help with it. Thanks, Jakub

      • Fabio Polieri

        Thank you Jakub for your help. I’m trying to fill the on-line form on the claimair website but I’m not sure what to click when it’s ask me to chose between “flight delay; flight cancellation; denied boarding” because as I said the flight was not delayed or cancelled but I were unable to reach the gates at the right time because of the airport security staff’s strike.

      • Fabio Polieri

        Jakub I hope you have not forget my last question 😀 help me, please.

        • Hey Fabio, sorry, I’m guilty as I forgot to reply… thanks for the reminder 🙂 Please select “denied boarding” and add a note referring to our conversation, so my teammates can use these details. Thanks again, Jakub

  • Giles Strong

    Hi Jakub,
    My Fiance was flying with Easyjet from Budapest the other week, their flight home cancelled with no reason given at the time, we have since emailed Easyjet for the compensation claim and they have replied saying that it was extraordinary circumstances due to a hole in the runway at Gatwick, meaning inbound flights were delayed. Do we have a case? My argument is that they should have just delayed the flight as the runway was actually fixed in 3 hours!

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Giles, I have been thinking a lot about it, so sorry for later response 🙂
      Well, in my point of view the hole in the runway could be considered as extraordinary circumstance in some sort of sense. However, since they didn’t tell you the reason at the airport (not even mentioning that airlines should be prepared for such a situation, when something goes wrong with inbound flight) and moreover as you have mentioned, the runway was fixed in 3 hours, that seems quite weird to me and it is possible that the airline is trying to avoid its responsibility.
      I would say that it definately worth for trying to push a little bit more on the airline in this case, actually we can help you with that! Check out our website (www.claimair.com) to find more. In every case, let me know if you have any questions or further news about your case. Hope it helps 🙂

  • Hi Kathryn, I’ve just come across your comment again and I’d like to inform you that there was a recent court ruling stating that “lightning strikes” cannot be considered extraordinary circumstance… what do you think? Do you want us to get you compensation? Let me know. Jakub

    • Kathryn Hope

      Hi Jakub, if you think it’s worth a try I’m happy to go along! To be honest I’d completely forgotten about it…..

      • Woow, you’re fast like a lightning strike 🙂 I really think it’s worth it… moreover, you have nothing to loose as we work only on “no win – no fee” basis. Will you please register your case in our system at http://www.claimair.com? The only thing you’ll need is your booking confirmation, you can find it in your email. You can also register all fellow travelers. Thanks, Jakub

  • mark drake

    German wings had 6.5 hour delay from Heathrow due to plane obstructing stuttgart airport
    Been told
    We apologise that we are unable to offer you any payment. In this specific case, operation of the flight contrary to schedule was caused by change in takeoff requirements or a change in flight route. Unfortunately, these requirements are beyond our control. 
    Any help appreciated please

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Mark, well the reasoning of Germanwings is very general, I think that it would deserved some better explanation than that. I would definately go for more details about what caused the flight delay and use that the airline is liable to provide a proof about that all necessary measures had been taken. Hope it helps, in case of further questions don’t hesitate to contact me again here, or directly. Jakub

  • Jim Smitheman


    My son is currently sitting in Iceland awaiting the departure of a WOW flight that should have left more than 7 hours ago. I presume he will qualify for the appropriate level of compensation. However, being very tall, he had paid extra for an emergency exit seat but because WOW are now using a different plane to the one my son booked on he finds himself in a standard seat. Can he claim additional compensation for this?

    • HI Jim, I’m sorry, the “quality of seating” or similar is not regulated anywhere in the law. But if your son paid for seating an extra fee, this should be refunded on a commercial law basis as such payment didn’t have any effect. Anyway, thanks for your comment. Jakub

  • Sam

    Hi thanks for your clear article, it’s all very ambiguous. I have just had a 5 hour delay (take off), 4hours 25 mins delay on arrival. I was travelling from Ibiza to Manchester on Ryanair. They have stated that they do not owe me compensation due to bad weather conditions. However, when we first arrived for our flight it said a 3 hour delay, and when questioning airport staff they said its at least 4 hours as the flight the plane was doing before ours wouldn’t be leaving Manchester until at least 8pm (nearly 2 hours after our scheduled flight time). We also heard that an earlier flight had had to be diverted from Amsterdam to Italy and it had had a knock on effect. Then to be told it was weather by Ryanair even though other flights from Ibiza to Manchester were not late or cancelled. I smell a rat and have asked them through resolver to produce reports of the weather conditions that caused this. I think they are lying and the fact the flight before ours was so late they are trying to get out of paying compensation by any means they can. What can I do to further help my case ? Thanks

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Sam, thank you for interesting questions.
      In such a situation I would definately pushed on Ryanair to provide a proof of extraordinary circumstances, however sometimes it might be very difficult (even though the onus in on airlines, clearly) to force airline and receive some kind of proof. For those purposes, it is necessary to contact National Enforcement Bodies, airlines usually give what the they want (or got fined), also I must notice that NEB is most of the time quite slow, as you might predict from the national institution 
      Your issue is clearly caused by delayed inbound flight, the info which is necessary to know for the proper claim evaluation is why was the inbound flight delayed. Probably caused by bad weather, but depends on by whom, if the ATC delays the flight – it is considered as extraordinary for example.
      I hope that it helps a bit, in case of any further questions, comments and so, please feel free to ask. Also, let us know as soon as you have more info!

      • Sam

        Hi thanks for your reply, I had looked into a couple of things and demanded proof and got a reply today saying their first letter was incorrect and the adverse weather affected an earlier flight, not ours so in black and white I have a confirmation letter stating we are entitled to compensation. I am truly grateful for the fantastic info available on putting the argument forward to the airline. They obviously do not want a court case which I made clear I would go through with if they denied ,y application again. Thanks for your advice and I would recommend to anyone struggling with something similar to consult your article to get a kick start in getting sorted. Now I just have to wait for the funds to hit my bank 🙂

        • Jakub Eliáš

          Hi Sam, that’s awesome! I am glad you find our blog valuable, since it is the main reason why we’re doing it – to help you out of struggles 🙂

  • Claudia D.

    Hi Jakub,
    I find this blog very informative, and was just about to start a claim for a flight when I found your blog and told myself would be a good idea to ask for your advice.
    My story is very recent.
    We ( me, my partner and our infant) had to fly from London to Bucharest last Friday to participate to an event. Our flight was delayed more than 4 hours due to technical issues, that meaning we would have missed our event so basically the flight wouldn’t fulfill its purpose anymore and we decided to abandon the journey after a long wait.
    Do we qualify for any compensation or refund at all if we didn’t arrived at the destination?

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Claudia, thank you for your question.
      The entitlement to a compensation is conditioned to check-in. Since the flight was delayed, you have made the check-in so the compensation should be payable to all of you. Also, the regulation 261 says that you shall be entitled to a reimbursement for your unused flight ticket(s). Let me know in case of any further questions or troubles!

  • Lori

    Hi Jakub,

    Thank you for your informative blog…very good info as I travel around Europe a lot and seem to have more than my fare share of delays and cancellations.

    My most recent incident was last week when I was supposed be on flight LX435 with Swiss from London City to Geneva when ½ hour before our flight was supposed to take off, they announced the flight was cancelled. They re-booked me on a later flight departing out of London City, but more than 5 hours after the original flight should have taken off and landed. The ground staff said the cancellation was due to a technical issue but nothing more.
    I wrote Swiss requesting compensation of EUR250 as per EC Regulation 261/2004. Their response was the following:

    “SWISS endeavours to always provide you with flawless service, and I regret that we were unable to do so on this occasion.

    Your flight LX 435 on 26.10.2016 was cancelled due to an unexpected flight safety shortcoming on LX 434. On behalf of Swiss and our partner airlines I would like to apologise for the inconvenience this caused you. I realize that you expect your flights to operate as scheduled, and we make every effort to do so. I assure you that we do not cancel our flights without good reasons and that the security of our guests is our absolute priority. At times, however, there are many unavoidable and unforeseen factors, beyond our influence, that can interfere with our flight operations resulting in cancellations as you have experienced. I am sorry that you felt let down and disappointed by this flight irregularity and the way it was handled at the airport. In the event of a flight cancellation, we book our passengers onto alternative flights to their destinations and, if necessary, organise hotel accommodation and care. While we realize that you are disappointed, we must remain fair and consistent in our handling. We are, therefore, unable to comply with your request for EU compensation and sincerely hope you understand our position. If you have incurred any direct costs for meals, refreshment, accommodation, transportation or communications, please send us the receipts of these expenses for reimbursement.
    Thank you for your understanding!”

    In fact, flight LX434 was the inbound flight coming from Geneva to London City due to land 1 ½ hours before our flight departure. Upon my further request to specify exactly the “unexpected flight safety shortcoming” on LX434, Swiss replied as follows:

    “LX 435 was cancelled as LX 434 had to perform a diversion to London Heathrow due to FADEC 2 fault. A full authority digital engine control (FADEC) is a system consisting of a digital computer and its related accessories that control all aspects of aircraft engine performance. If a total FADEC failure occurs, the engine fails. “

    My questions are the following:

    1. Is the reason Swiss provides above an extraordinary event that was unpredictable, unavoidable and external? This seems like a technical problem which is subject to routine maintenance on the aircraft and which should not be covered as an extraordinary event .

    2. However, if it is considered extraordinary event, it would also seem that since my flight was cancelled due to the diversion of the previous flight to a different airport in the same city, that the airline should provide for a certain reserve time to operate my flight in its entirety once the extraordinary circumstances have come to an end. In my case, it seems that they could’ve fixed the problem with the FADEC and sent the plane from London Heathrow over to London City (only 20 miles apart) or flown in another Swiss flight from elsewhere?

    3. Do you think I am entitled to compensation? What can I do to help further my case?

    Many Thanks.

    • Hi Lori, many thanks for extensive description of your situation. I’ll keep it short… technical problem with an aircraft cannot be considered an extraordinary event and therefore, Swiss should pay you €250 compensation. The response from Swiss is a very common fluff that airlines use while struggling to get rid off their responsibility…and pretending how supportive they are. As you can imagine, it can be difficult for you to deal with it… we can get it for you, just register your case on claimair.com. Let me know anytime you need further support, Jakub

  • Martin Donnelly

    Hi Jakob,

    Some advice please on extraordinary weather.
    Last month i was due to fly in a party of 4 from Inverness to London Gatwick at 14.55. Our flight was delayed by over 3 hours. The reason given by the flight crew was that there had been fog in Portugal or Greece ( i can’t remember) on their first flight of the morning.
    I have been advised by EasyJet that this constitutes my flight as being delayed due to exceptional circumstances.

    Are they just fobbing me off?

    • Hi Martin! As you can read in the article, an airline must provide you with clear evidence… only this is the way how to get rid off liability. If I were you, I’d certainly give it another try and would insist on financial compensation. Let me know how it works. Thanks, Jakub

  • Sak J

    Hi Jakub – thanks for the useful post. I was taking a flight in July from TFS – LGW with BA and the flight was over 3 hours delayed (by a few minutes, but frustrating nevertheless). When I tried to claim for compensation, they said that it was due to air traffic control congestion and therefore I was not liable for compensation. Surely airlines are faced with air traffic control congestion quite regularly – and so I don’t see this as extraordinary. Have you seen any cases like this before please? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Sak, well your are partly right about the regularity of ATC restrictions. However, such a restriction couldn’t be influenced by the airline, thus even avoided. That unfortunately means extraordinary circumstance applies for your case. Let me know in case of further questions! 🙂 Jakub

      • Sak J

        Thanks Jakub – should they be able to prove that it was ATC congestion? Or do I just have to take their word – it sounds like an easy excuse to give for any other situation to avoid paying out! Rgds, Sak

        • Jakub Eliáš

          They’re always liable to provide impartial proof of extraordinary circumstances as well as a proof that all necessary measures had been taken, I am sorry I should have mention it within my comment 🙂 However, in reality airlines often simply refusing to provide such an information, in that case National Enforcement Body should take a place, since they may fine airlines for not doing what they should. Jakub

  • Elsa

    My flight was cancelled then changed to delayed due to a air traffic strike.. Can I get compensation for this?

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Elsa, in case that strike of the airport staff happens, it is considered as extraordinary circumstances. However, if the flight disruption would be caused by the strike of airlines staff, the entitlement to compensation arises in that situation. Let me know in case of any further questions, Jakub

  • Iman

    Hello dear jakub,

    Tnq u at first for the sharing such practical info!
    I got the thicket from Iran (tehran) to istanbul & then going to Tashkent (uzb) by Turkish airline!
    In Tehran i got both boarding pass, but in Istanbul i change my seat to sray on exit (i’m a little tall)
    After i got my new boarding pass (istanbul to tashkent), the flight gate number was wrong & i lost the flight.
    Turkish air line, customer service even not listening to my claim & expressed it was yout fault, u have to check public board! And we are justvresponsible for the gare changing in boarding time (one hour before flight)
    Please help me if any right reserved for me but i gotta pay more than 500 box for another ticket & hotel!
    I newer try to use Turkish airline, by the way!
    Once again tnq & look forward to hear from you.

    • Iman

      Need to clear that, the gate number which mentioned on my boarding pass in Istabul airport was wrong!

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Iman,
      Firstly, I gotta mention that such an issue doesn’t seem to be covered by any legislation, unfortunately.
      However, it looks like the airline changed the gate before departure, it happens, usually because of some problems of another airplanes staying at the initial gate.
      True is that you should be definitely informed about such a change, by announcement, text message or so.
      My advise is thus to complain to the airline, I believe they could offer you some sort of compensation (hopefully to cover your costs), but as I have mentioned above, it’s not covered by a legislation, meaning not much legal leverage to support your complaint. I wish you good luck and let me know in case of any further questions.

  • Adam Almagro

    Hi Jakub, great job with the blog! Very informative and interesting.
    One of my friends (Mr. Penny) has faced the following case:
    He booked a flight from XRY (Jerez, Spain) to HHN (Hahn, Germany) for himself and his wife for October 25, 2016 with Ryanair at the price of EUR 300 per person. Departure was scheduled at 10:00 a.m. Due to foggy conditions, the flight was cancelled. They were offered a choice between a refund of the money paid or an alternative flight on October 27, but they refused both options because they were going to attend a funeral of a close relative the day after. They booked then a flight from MAD (Madrid, Spain) to FFM (Frankfurt, Germany) on their own for October 26 at 7:00 a.m at the price of 500 Euros per person instead, so they managed to attend the funeral. Mr. Penny is now thinking of claiming compensation of 400 Euros, plus the additional costs of the flight MAD-FFM.
    In this case, from my understanding, given the unavoidable and external circumstances of the foggy weather conditions (which are not that common in Jerez), Ryanair would not be obliged to pay neither compensation, nor the other flight, but only reimburse him for the cancelled flight. Is that correct, or would there be basis for something else?
    Thank you in advance,
    Adam Almagro

    • Kamila Z.

      Hi Adam, thank you for your interesting question!
      You’re right that the airline isn’t eligible to pay Mr. Penny the compensation for the flight cancellation due to the bad weather which is considered as an extraordinary circumstance.
      The airline is obligated to ensure the closest possible way to the Client’s final destination under comparable conditions. That means the airline should pay him for his expenses on alternative flight ticket which he paid on his own in accordance with the Article 9 of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004.
      Hope it helps you! Also, let me know the results and in the case of any struggles we will be happy to help you.

  • Sandra Dunlop Snr

    Hi Jakub,we had booked a flight from Belfast to Orlando via Newark, departing on 1 June 2015. When we arrived to check in, we stood in the queue for over 2 hrs before we got any information as to why we were waiting! Eventually we were told the flight coming from Newark to Belfast to collect passengers had been delayed in Newark. This meant that we had to be booked on to a later connecting flight in Newark to Orlando. This all meant the doors opened at our arrival in Orlando MCO 4hr 5mins late. I submitted a claim for delayed compensation back in June 2015. I used the templates from Moneysaving expert and followed the advice given. United, after about 6 months, said that we were not entitled to compensation, as they do not accept that the connecting flight should be considered, as it was outside EU. I wrote back, quoting EC Regulations re connecting flights which are booked as one package being relevant. Again they refused to pay compensation, so I issued a NBA. They still refused! I then got a local solicitor involved and he sent an email to United Airlines on 4/11/16. They sent back a reply, stating they would not be paying out compensation, as our flight coming to pick us up had been delayed in Newark on 31/5/15 due to lightening in the area! Newark was in Code Red condition. They included excerpts from a daily briefing, issued at 6.15pm on 31/5/15,stating Air Traffic Control imposed a Ground Delay Programme that resulted in an average delay of 166 minutes. They also say an SWAP was in effect and the majority of their express flight operation was cancelled and they were working to get the planes that were diverted to other airports because they could not land at Newark into the airport. There were 20 mainline United flights that had to divert on May 31st. Because of the impact of the weather on the inbound flight from Newark, there was a delay on flight 76 on 1 June 2015.

    Now, I am thinking, what the heck has all this got to do with us. Our flight was not diverted! Also the weather briefing wqas at 6.15pm, 3.25hrs before our inbound flight was due to depart Newark. They had 3 hours to arrange for a plane to come from another hub, like London or Dublin. I don’t think they exhausted all their options?
    They have offered us 1500 Airmiles instead, which is nothing for Uk flyers. Also United have pulled out from Belfast, as of January 2017!

    Do you think we have a case. This effects 8 passengers, all my family.

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Sandra,
      Thank you for your question. Well, you are right that the connecting flight, where the delay happened within the coverage of regulation 261 has an entitlement to compensation.
      However, if the delay or cancellation was caused by ATC decision, it is considered as extraordinary circumstances, mainly because the airline couldn’t avoid such a situation.
      For sure, the airline is liable to provide you a proof that all reasonable measure had been taken to avoid the incident, as for example they have tried to bring a different airplane. In case they would refused, national enforcement body would help.
      Let me know if it helps, otherwise we can have further conversation if you want just leave me a message on hello@claimair.com

      • Sandra Dunlop Snr

        Hi Jakub,
        thank you for your reply. What is national enforcement body?? I will ask my solicitor to email United for proof that all reasonable measures had been taken, like a different plane.

        • Jakub Eliáš

          Hello Sandra,

          National Enforcement Body is an national institution established to supervise on passengers rights and other aviation related issues. Within the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority is the one you would be looking for. The disadvantage is that they’re usually quite slow and unable to make legal steps against the airline, just impose a fine. Let me know how it goes! Have a good day, Jakub

          • Sandra Dunlop Snr

            Thank you Jakub,
            I have emailed my solicitor and instructed him to ask United for proof that they have taken all reasonable measures, including a different plane. I will keep you informed.

  • Magda

    Hello Jakub,

    Well done for the helpful article on claims against airlines and what comes under extraordinary circumstance.

    I have a quick question for you and I hope you can shed some light on this. It’s regarding my flight from Poland to the UK (London). Basically my flight was delayed by 4hrs 43 minutes.I received a delay confirmation letter from the Airline but when I contacted them for compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004 they refused citing reasons outside their control. Namely, the delay was caused by the original aircraft scheduled to operate my flight being repositioned due to an airport closure at Bologne on that day. Bologna-Guglielmo Marconi Airport was indeed closed that day until 19:30 (landing incident with a another airline) . My flight from Poland was originally at 19:05 but I actually flew at 00:15. Ryanair did take care of the passengers and offered snacks while waiting for the plane.
    Are they right to refuse my claim?

    Please let me know.

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Thank you for your question and I am glad you like our article 🙂
      Well, this kind of reason is considered as extraordinary circumstances, since the airline couldn’t influenced the airport closure. However, they might assign different airplane to your flight, thus I would request the airline to provide a proof that all reasonable measures had have been taken to avoid the delay. Hope it helps, otherwise let me know! Jakub

  • David Seon

    Hi Jakub, what joy bumping into this web site, My case is almost similar to the case below. To refresh you I believe my flight was impacted by the Emirates crash at Dubai airport on 3rd August 2016. My flight with United Emirates from Uk Bhm 9:45am 3 Aug change at Dubai for another flight to Bangkok.
    Initially my Emirates flight from the UK was 3hrs delayed departing the uk. So I would miss my connection anyway. Eventually when I did arrive at Dubai at 2.30 am on the 4th Aug, I was informed the airport was closed, my next flight to Bangkok would be in 5 days time and no alternative flights would be available.
    I could not locate my baggage for it somehow went on to Bangkok without me.
    Thus I was stranded in Dubai for 5 days. All I had was my shoulder bag. As luck would have it I had credit cards with me. Emirates offered no advice or support. Five days later I flew on to Bangkok. Lost half my holiday because all in all my holiday was for 9 days in Bangkok.

    In uk my insurers state my claim is invalid in view of the conditions of my policy,which regrettably fall outside the terms and conditions of my policy. I don’t think they wish to pay out. I even took travel disruption as extra cover. I decided to contact Emirates for a clearer reason

    I contacted United Emirates and the reply back was ‘’Unfortunately, the operational incident and the subsequent closure of Dubai Airport resulted in major flight cancellations and delays.This being not an excuse, Emirates are unable to accept liability in such circumstances as the events on 03 August and ensuing days were due to extraordinary circumstances and are construed as ‘force majeure’’’.
    I have tried to get Emirates explain clearly the meaning of ‘’extraordinary circumstances’’ as stated in section 15 of the CAA regulations cat 15, I only get an answer in the above paragraph.

    I have trolled the web and apart from media news I have information that this issue was due to an Emirates crash on the 3 Aug and possibly even down to a pilot error in bringing the flight down possibly linked to insufficient pilot rest periods.

    I am claiming for half my holiday and the cost of taxi fares and hotel stay in dubai for 5 days.

    Are there grounds for compensation here?
    What would be the suggested next best move?

    Thank you

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hi David,

      Very challenging case!

      I have noticed couple of things. Firstly, as your initial flight was departing from the UK, assuming your whole itinerary was on the one booking, it should be solved within the regulation 261, thus Emirates ought to offer you accommodation, meals and of course help in general.

      Moreover, it has to be provided even though extraordinary circumstances take a place, now I getting to my second point. The incident of crashing plane in Dubai, is unfortunately considered as extraordinary (it doesn’t really matter if it was pilots fault, in your case), the reason for that is the airport closure, airline simply couldn’t avoid it.

      There might be an options of using Montreal Convention to claim your lost days of vacation, however it’s very possible that it would become necessary to take this issue to court.
      My advice is thus insist in position of claiming your expenses (food, accommodation, taxi and so).
      Let me know how it goes! Jakub

      • David Seon

        Thanks Jakub, I can see this case will be a long haul. Will keep you posted.

  • Steve

    Great Information Here Jakub,
    My daughter was booked on a Lufthansa flight from New York JFK to Frankfurt November 22 2016 at 4:45pm. She received an email at 7:00 am that morning that the flight was cancelled. I now know it is because of the pilot’s strike. Her group was able to get a flight out of Newark on a United/Lufthansa codeshared flight at 7:45. Everything I have read in the EU regulations, as well as all of today’s news accounts says that “strikes” are considered extraordinary circumstances. And no compensation will be offered. But in this article you say “If a strike relates to airline personnel like pilots or cabin crew
    members, an airline is always liable and this kind of strike cannot be
    considered an extraordinary circumstance.” Will she be entitled to compensation? BTW she also has flights on Lufthansa scheduled this week round trip from Frankfurt to Ireland as well as Frankfurt to JFK next week. I hope this gets resolved quickly!

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hi Steve,
      Yes, strike of airline’s staff shouldn’t be considered as extraordinary circumstances, since airline could definitely avoid this situation. The reason why you have found such information is because strike in general was for quite long time considered as extraordinary.
      However, now it’s necessary to differentiate if is it strike by ATC workers or airline’s pilots for example.
      For her further flights, it’s uncertain if the strike will go on, Lufthansa insist on their statement, so it is possible that her flights will be affected as well. Let me know in case of any further questions. Jakub

      • Steve

        In the end, my daughter had three flights canceled. Her flight from JFK to Frankfurt was re booked on a later flight from a different airport as I stated earlier See took a refund for her round trip to Ireland and went to Iceland instead. Curiously Lufthansa’s refund email falsely claimed that she had cancelled her flight. She only requested her refund after Lufthansa cancelled her flight to Ireland. This all adds up to 3 cancelled flights due to the Lufthansa Pilots Strike. I was hoping to get compensation for her and put the information into this websites calculator on your front page. The results say “no compensation is due.” Again this seems contrary to your position (And what I want to believe). Is she entitled to compensation if her flights were cancelled due to the Pilots Strike. If so can I forward the information to Claimair.com for assistance. 25% seems worth it.

        • Jakub Eliáš

          Hello Steve, Pilots Strike (Strike of Airline staff in our form) is evaluated as non-extraordinary in our system. Please send me an email to claims@claimair.com and we can find out what’s wrong or use our online support in the right down corner 🙂

  • Joakim

    Thank you very much for this information. My flight with Lufthansa was delayed for 40 min and we missed our connecting flight. The captain said it was due to technical issues with the hydraulics. I emailed Lufthansa and they insisted on calling me – no written evidence or statements here! I installed an app to record my calls. They said that they could not be held responsible for technical issues… But thanks to this blog I said “to prove this, you need to show that you have done all services on time, so I need to contact a legal body in my country and they well contact you about the correct documents”. The operator asked me to hold for a while. When she got back 3 min later she said, without hesitation, that I would get the money! The money reached my account 7 days later.

    The rules on Lufthansas webpage are only possible to find through Google. They are basically the EU text. Here they are:

    The legal body to contact when flying from Sweden is Allmänna reklamationsnämnden (ARN).

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hi Joakim, very well managed! I am glad we were able to help you with this situation.

  • Anders Beatty

    Having written over 7 emails over 3 months trying desperately to get compensation for a 6 hour delay for my wife and daughter from Wizzair and having been offered a 30 euro ‘good will gesture’ I wrote back to them…….

    ‘On the advice of the CAA I have been informed that technical problems are not extraordinary circumstances unless they are the type that you could not expect to encounter when operating a flight.

    The decisions made in the Wallentin-Hermann vs Alitalia case 2009 and Jet2 vs Huzar case 2014 have confirmed that routine technical difficulties are not extraordinary circumstances.

    Also I would like to make you aware that European Court of Justice ruling in the case of van der Lans v KLM had on 15th September 2015 confirmed that airlines are required to pay compensation when flights are delayed due to unforeseen technical problems.’

    ……..so I was rather suprised to get the following letter from Wizzair.

    We regret to inform you that we maintain our viewpoint that the delay of your flight was caused by extraordinary circumstances, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of Wizz Air. However, please note that we are not authorized to send you the official reports that verify the reasons of the delay, as these documents are confidential and can only be provided if legal action is brought against our company. Furthermore, unfortunately, we are only able to provide the previously mentioned reimbursement of your additional expenses that occurred directly due to the delay.

    Thank you for your time and understanding.

    Kind regards,

    Orsolya Süveges

    CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT | Wizz Air Hungary Ltd. (member of Wizz Air Group)

    Has anyone got any advice on how to reply to this?

    I m at a loss as to what say next. Needless to say I ve now got the bit between my teeth.

    Many Thanks

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Andres, my answer will be quite simple – insist. Technical issue shouldn’t be considered as extraordinary. Only in case that the problem couldn’t be found during standard maintenance – might be considered as extraordinary (usually manufacturing defect). You can use our services or ask ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) to mediate your case – of course if the airline would refused again. Let me know if you have any further questions 🙂

  • Carin Kul

    Hi Jacub,
    My parents were suppose to go from Gothenburg (Sweden) to Stuttgart (Germany) through Frankfurt last weekend with Lufthansa. They got informed the evening before that the flight was cancelled because of striking pilots. I was reading in this blog that If a strike relates to airline personnel like pilots or cabin crew members, an airline is always liable and this kind of strike cannot be considered an extraordinary circumstance. Is this right? Thank you!

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hi Carin, yes and the reason is very simple – they could avoid this situation for sure – in contrast with strike of airline staff for example. Jakub

  • Ash Forrest

    Hi Jakub. Thanks very much for the information. My airline is sticking by ‘extraordinary circumstances’. I’ll copy in the latest exchange but my flight was delayed because the previous flight was delayed due to a medical emergency. I have read a company can’t claim ‘extraordinary circumstances’ if the previous flight was delayed by bad weather but could you advise on this situation?

    Kind regards,


    Letter I sent most recently…

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Re: Compensation claim for delayed flight

    Booking reference: xxx

    I am writing regarding flight xxx on xxx from Tenerife South to Manchester, UK with the scheduled departure time of 18:00. This flight arrived 3 hours+ late at Manchester, UK. The Reason for the delay was due to a Medical Emergency on the previous flight ie. Manchester to Tenerife South. You are in possession of this information that was provided by the airport (Ref. Telephone conversation, 17:20, xxxth November 2016). Please note: a medical emergency on a previous flight does not constitute “extraordinary circumstances”.

    The judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Tui & others v CAA confirmed the applicability of compensation for delay as set out in the Sturgeon case. As such, I am seeking compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 for this delayed flight.

    The passengers in the party were…

    The offer of £258.04 in the form of a voucher is not an adequate reimbursement nor is it complying with EC Regulation 261/2004. My scheduled flight length was 4088 km, therefore I am seeking £350 per delayed passenger in my party. The total is £700 for all passengers.

    To summarise, I am seeking:

    a) Full reimbursement totalling £700.
    b) Evidence of any alleged “extraordinary circumstance”. This is to including a copy of the correspondence from the airport stating the reason for delay was due to an inbound flight delay REF: Telephone conversation, 17:20, xxxth November 2016). I remind you that Easyjet are legally bound to provide me with this information.
    c) Measures that were in place to prevent my flight being delayed.
    d) The airlines ‘final position’ on this matter in order to refer this complaint to Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, as instructed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

    I look forward to a full response to this letter. I am fully aware of the legislation covering this claim and if I do not receive a satisfactory response I intend to pursue my complaint further, which may mean taking it to court.

    Yours faithfully,

    Mr Ashley Forrest

    — — — — — —

    The reply…

    Dear Mr. Forrest,

    Thank you for writing to us.

    I would want to inform you that the reason for disruption of your flight was due to a medical emergency on its previous sector. This event is categorised as extraordinary and according to EU261 regulation we cannot compensate you for the delay.

    The reason for disruption of any delays or cancellations is stated in our flight report which is reviewed by our Legal Team. Please treat this email as an evidence that your flight was disrupted due to extraordinary reasons.

    Please be advised that the staff at the airport does every effort to avoid delays. However, certain situations are treated extraordinary for the fact that they were out of our control. There was nothing that could be done to avoid this delay.

    Hence, please take this as the final response from our side that we are unable to offer any sort of compensation where the reason for disruption is extraordinary. We cannot escalate this matter further as the response still remains the same.

    I apologise for all the inconvenience this may have caused you. I do hope your next flight with us is a more positive experience.

    Yours Sincerely,


    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Ash,

      Well, delayed inbound flight is categorized as one of the more complicated scenarios. If the outbound flight was delayed because of medical emergency, it’s considered as extraordinary. However, your scenario is different, the key point here will be if the airline is able to provide that all reasonable measures had have been taken – thus use CAA or court proceeding to find it out. Unfortunately, it’s usual that airlines won’t provide any statement without using any legal actions against them. And just last thing, you have mentioned that travel itinerary was 4000 km, thus compensation should be 600 EUR per passenger (approx 507 GBP). Hope it helps, otherwise let me know 🙂 Jakub

  • Michael

    Hi Jakub, thank you for all the good information!

    Me and my family were flying with Air France from Cape Town to Paris on Nov 12th 00:30 and our flight got cancelled due to sudden illness of a crew member. When attempting to get compensation they claim sudden illness as extraordinary circumstances since Cape Town is an outstation and not a hub for the airline and replacement crew would not be availible until one could be flown in.

    The first aircraft we were scheduled to depart with later departed 10:00 on Nov 13th but we were booked on a flight leaving 00:30 on Nov 14th, so our trip was delayed by exactly 48h. Not 33.5h as most of the other passengers.

    My question is if I have any grounds to further pursue compensation here? Does sudden illness fall under medical reasons comparable to serious illness or death onboard? One would argue that this is a staff issue and that personell falling ill can’t be uncommon in normal operations of any larger company.

    Or, does the extent of our delay entitle us to compensation in any way? I have not heard from the airline why we were booked on the late flight but i can not see why there would not be room for us on the first aircraft we were intended to depart with, and that this subsequent delay means that we were not rerouted home as soon as possible.

    Your advice on this is greatly appreciated


    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Michael, I am sorry for later response. In this case, one thing I have mentioned in my previous comments should apply as well. Sudden illness of a crew member shouldn’t be considered as an extraordinary circumstance. However, if the airline proves that all necessary measures had have been taken (everything possible to replace the crew member), the compensation entitlement expires. So, try to request such a proof, you may even use National Enforcement Body. Jakub

  • CHolt

    We were delayed because of a bird strike and as a result the plane we were due to travel on required an engineer to review to advise if fit to fly. The engineer had to be flown to the destination to check over the plane which could not take place until the following day.
    Another plane wasn’t able to be flown in due to an airport curfew.
    This is known data therefore I’d expect this to be not be classed as extra ordinary.
    What are your thoughts?

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hello Cholt, crucial is the initial flight – delayed due to a bird strike. This particular problem shouldn’t be considered as extraordinary circumstances, thus compensation entitlement shall exist. However, depends on your flight itinerary (EU legislation or not?). Let me know if you have further questions:) Jakub

  • Tracey Jopson

    Hi I was due to fly from IOM to LCY at 06.55 on 28/12/16. The flight was delayed due to fog at LCY. We eventually took off at 11.05 however when we reached London we were held for approx 30 mins before being told the visibility was too poor to land & we were being returned to IOM. I eventually got on a flight to LCY at 18.10 & arrived at 19.20 – 11 hours after I should have arrived. Can I claim compensation or will a claim be rejected due to extraordinary circumstances ? In my opinion the airline failed in its duty by flying at 11.05 as it should have known that conditions were not improving at LCY & it would not be able to land. Thank you, Tracey

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hi Tracey, thank you for interesting question. For the first, bad weather as for example fog is a reason which is considered as extraordinary circumstances. However, you question was a bit different, thus it’s necessary to find out what was the reason of initial delay (why your flight was departing at 11:05 instead of 6:55). My assumption is that the airline had info about bad weather situation and so delayed the scheduled departure – however, it must be supported by the evidence. If the initial delay would caused something out of extraordinary definition – then you may have a case. Hope it helps and have a great day, Jakub

      • Tracey Jopson

        Thank you for the reply Jakob. The reason for the flight not taking off at 6.55 am was due to fog at London City and there is no disputing this as it was reported on the National TV news. The flight took of at 11.05 presumably because air traffic gave clearance for take off & the airline presumably thought conditions would be clear enough for landing. However, when we got to London City we were held for approx 30 minutes before the pilot announced we would be renting to IOM as visibility not good for landing at London City. The air line hands out compensation information leaflets when we arrived back in IOM but I’m really unsure of whether I can claim or will the airline say no due to extraordinary circumstances ? My argument would surely be they knew about the fog before take off so should never have taken off. Thank you in advance for your help & advice.

  • Tom

    Hi Jakub, very helpful blog thank you.

    EasyJet have rejected my claim due to ‘Strike or ATC Restrictions’ – classified as extraordinary. They are yet to provide me with actual proof of this event (already vague in itself), and that they took all reasonable measures to avoid it. At the time they told the passengers that the delay was due to crew “out of hours” – not described as an extraordinary circumstance.

    Are they breaking the law by failing to provide me with proof? I would like to continue pursuing but they make it incredibly difficult to contact them.

    Your advice would be appreciated!


    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hi Tom, thanks for your question. It seems that easyjet’s trying to hide something (or the initial statement was wrong). However, airlines are obligated to provide impartial proof in any situation – but reality is a bit different. It’s very difficult to get such a proof by your own. I would recommend to involve a relevant National Enforcement Body – they may impose a fine on the airline in case airline would break the law. Hope it helps at least a bit 🙂 Jakub

  • Nino

    Hi, I have a question.
    My flight from Toronto to Paris by Air France was canceled. I emailed them asking for a compensation but they refused. Their explanation was that another aircraft damaged the one I was supposed to get on whilst it was at the parking stand. they said that this counts as extraordinary circumstance and that I am not entitiled to compensation, is this true?

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Nino, I am really sorry for very late response. The mentioned reason shouldn’t be in my opinion considered as extraordinary. It should be deemed similarly as a collision of mobile boarding stairs with the aircraft. Hope it helps. Kamila

  • Lauren

    Hi Jakub,

    I have a quick query I was hoping you could help me with. I was due to fly from Gatwick to Belfast with Easyjet on 12/30/2016. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 8.45pm. When we got to the airport several of the earlier flights to Belfast had been delayed due to fog, but at that time our flight was still scheduled to go and the board said that gate information would be given at 7.55pm. Whilst we were waiting the flight that was due to leave at 7.45pm left on time. Then at around 8pm a gate was shown for our flight – 56L. As we were walking to the gate, it suddenly changed. Our flight showed gate 567 and a flight that had been due to leave showed 56L. It then came over the PA that our flight had been cancelled.

    When I emailed Easyjet they said that we weren’t due any compensation because the fog was an extraordinary circumstance – but given that the 2 earlier flights left, and that we were assigned a gate before it was then given to another flight, is it worth fighting them on this?

    Thank you,

    • Kamila Z.

      Hi Lauren, again I am sorry for later reply. The issue with relation to weather conditions are always quite unclear. The main role usually plays the ATC, meaning that if the ATC restrict your flight, it should be considered as extraordinary, since the airline is not able to influence such a decision. Let me know in case of any further questions and have a good night, Kamila

  • Pete

    Hi Jakub,
    I flew Vienna to Manchester via Frankfurt last month and was delayed overnight in Frankfurt having missed my connection as the Vienna to Frankfurt flight was late. The reason for the first leg of the flight being late was (according to Lufthansa) because the plane was late arriving at Vienna and hence we couldn’t board and depart on time. Lufthansa’s explanation is that the on the inbound flight to Vienna, some passengers checked in and checked hold luggage then failed to board, hence the luggage had to be removed prior to departure. Does this constitute an extraordinary circumstance as it has happened to me on several flights (maybe I’m just unlucky) or should the airline allow time for such occurrences?

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Pete, please excuse my late response. Well, in such cases it always is worth to ask the airline for a proof of their statement. Frankly speaking, the issue as you have described might be considered as extraordinary. However, it’s usual to face quite different answers after you ask for the proof. In case that they would have refused, still you can use help from National Enforcement Body. Hope it helps, Kamila

  • Sonia

    Thank you for the article. I’ve found it really interesting and helpful
    I have a doubt, though. I understood that personnel strike (as a pilot strike of the airline) cannot be considered as extraordinary circumstances. However, in one of the comments of this blog, it is said the opposite. Could you please clarify? I’ve been affected recently by a Lufthansa pilot strike and I would like to know if I can claim for compensation.
    Thank you

  • Sonia

    Hi Jakub,
    I have just posted a question to know if a pilot strike is considered as extraordinary circumstances, but after reading more comments of this blog I found that you have recently answered that question and, as I understood it cannot be considered as extraordinary.
    Then, I’ll tell you about my case. On the 25th of November my flight from Madrid to Munich was cancelled and they finally offered me another flight the day after. Plus, on the 29th my flight back was also cancelled and they offered me an alternative flight with and intermediate stop, but arriving in Madrid 5 hours after than with my initial flight.
    I contacted Lufthansa for compensation, but they said that since the cancellation of the flight was caused by unusual circumstances which could not be prevented although all feasible measures were taken, they are unable to provide any compensatory payment in this case.
    Do you think I should reply and claim for compensation again?
    Thank you

    • Kamila Z.

      Hi Sonia, you’re right. The reason is that the law is changing or better saying more specifies. If we apply simple logic, the airline is directly responsible for their employees and certainly is able to influence and prevent any strikes, in comparison to strikes of ATC staff, etc.. Also, we currently have multiple cases which have been taken to court in this matter so we’ll see and I hope that we’ll win. Have a good night, Kamila

  • Roy F

    In July 16, my wife and I travelled to Bulgaria from the UK. On our journey back, our flight was delayed by 7 hours, so we applied for compensation.
    BH Airlines informed me that the Handling agent caused an accident which in turn, caused a serious electrical fault which caused the delay. So the airline said it wasn’t their fault, but the fault of a third party (surely they contracted this third party!).
    They wrote –
    ”the damage inflicted by the Handling agent upon our aircraft resulted in an unexpected flight safety shortcoming which falls among the grounds for carrier’s exoneration from liability approved by Civil Aviation Authorities. Furthermore, it constitutes extraordinary circumstance which, under Regulation (EC) 261/2004, releases carriers from liability for delays or cancellation of the affected flight.”
    Also they said they had no contractual obligation to comply with any specific flight schedule, as it was stipulated in the package tour agreement between Balkan Holidays and ourselves, and not in any agreement where BH Air is a contracting party.
    Surely they need to be responsible for time keeping, and the actions of their ground staff, even though they are contracted!

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Roy, firstly I am sorry for a later reply. The truth is that such an issue might be considered as extraordinary. However, as I have mentioned a few comment below, ask for the proof. You may receive a quite different answer. Let me know how it went. Kamila

  • Tristan Casson-Rennie

    I was recently on a flight with FlyBe from NWI-ALC at 17:30. The aircraft has a real stretch of a diagram for the day, and included in it is a crew change part way through. Essentially the diagram is this:
    EXT-ALC / ALC-NWI / NWI-EXT (Crew Change) EXT-NWI / NWI-ALC / ALC-EXT – the problem was that the first sector from Alicante was 3 hours late in arrival at Alicante owing to Fog on the ground in Exeter causing a late departure. This made the Alicante – Norwich flight 3 hours late arriving also, and FlyBe took the decision to cancel the NWI-EXT Crew Change EXT-NWI which resulted in my flight being, well cancelled, although they called it Delayed Due to Fog, and retimed to 15:20 the next day – a 23 hour delay.
    In essence, FlyBe told everyone that the flight was delayed due to Fog, indeed they issued letters to everyone telling them that they could not claim under EU261/2014 owing to Extraordinary Circumstances – but Norwich Airport were having none of it, operating normally and telling us all that the airport was open and operating normally. The flight was cancelled because the crew were out of hours to reach Exeter, and the other crew would also be out of hours to get back to Exeter later in the evening because of the delays. The crew that should have gone to Exeter to finish their day were put up in a hotel in Norwich, and they were the same crew that took us to Alicante the next day – and even they told us that they were “out of hours” so the flight was cancelled.
    So FlyBe are playing games.
    I believe I can claim under EU261/2014 as the FlyBe flight-ops team had more than enough time to plan contingency for the crew. They could have dispatched a new crew to Norwich by road, or alternatively (as Exeter is their base) flown a new crew up to Norwich once the fog had lifted in preparation for our inbound aircraft.
    FlyBe on the other hand are being dishonest, siting Fog as Extraordinary and not conceding the point at all. What do you think?

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Tristan, firstly I am sorry for a later reply. Thank you for your interesting comment. I will provide simple answer – even thought that the delay was caused by bad weather condition which has been followed by crew hours issue, the airline is liable to provide that all reasonable measures had been taken. Meaning that in case they are able to provide that no other crew was available, they’re out. I think that National Enforcement Body or ADR might be helpful in your case. Let me know how it went! Have a good night, Kamila

  • James O’Connor

    Great article Jakub. i was on an easyJet flight from Edinburgh to Hamburg in November. 20 minutes into the flight there were fumes in the cabin and the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit. The pilot got it under control, but we were diverted to Newcastle where we were met by fire crews etc. easyJet sent a replacement aircraft from Luton and we arrived in Hamburg over 4 hours late. easyJet cited extraordinary circumstances and have refused to pay my claim. Given your comment that something going wrong with an aircraft during a flight itself would be considered extraordinary circumstances, would I have a valid claim, even if it problem was not caused by a hidden manufacturing defect and was inherent to normal operations? Thank you.

    • Kamila Z.

      Hi James, please accept my apologies for my late response. To me, it seems as a technical issue – means compensation under the Regulation EC 261/2004:. However, could you please specify what you have meant by your last question? Thank you! Kamila

  • Nadège Defrère

    Excellent blog post! Many thanks for sharing this very useful information!
    I had a plane scheduled on 7th January from (JFK) New York to (BRU) Brussels airport. SN Brussels refuses me a compensation, because they mention bad weather conditions. I of course asked them for a proof, as all flights were leaving JFK and the same for Brussels airport on that day. According to SN employees we talked to at JFK, the plane was cancelled because it was stuck in Canada because of the bad weather there. Reading your post, it seems that I could still expect a compensation. I have some questions:
    1) My flight was New York/ Brussels. Even if the weather was bad in Canada (still to be proved by the airline), does it impact my claim for compensation of the my cancelled flight?
    2) Would you directly start a complaint to national body?
    3) I also had a private insurance. Would you make the complaint to both the airlines and the private insurance?

    Thanks a lot and again congratulations for your professionalism!

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Nadège, thank you very much for your comment and I am really sorry for my late answer. In your case, our opinion is that the late arrival of the previous flight caused by bad weather is not considered as an extraordinary circumstance but sometimes is really difficult to deal with airlines (the airline should prove that the flight disruption was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken). I would definitely go with the NEB option, they may provide valuable insight into this situation. But honestly, I’m afraid that the only way how to resolve your case fast and effectively is court proceeding. Regarding your private insurance, I am not sure what value it covers. If not full (600€), the rest should be paid by the airline, of course only in the case that a valid entitlement exists. So let us know and we’re ready to help you and have a good night, Kamila

  • Lori

    Dear Jakub,

    I wrote you a couple months ago due to a cancelled flight from Swiss. Unfortunately, I experienced another cancelled flight on Swiss from LGW-GVA – and Swiss is now claiming adverse weather (which grounded flights earlier in the day – but the weather cleared up when our flight was supposed to leave at 20:25) as the reason. However, the real reason for the cancellation -as spoken directly by the captain personally who came out of the cockpit to share with us) is that the ground crew who loads luggage and who Swiss subcontracts to- was not there to load the luggage until the last minute, and Geneva airport would not stay open past 0:30am -as the airport normally closes at mid-nite and had already granted a 1/2 hour extension. Can Swiss claim adverse weather -when that is not the real reason, and is the burden of proof on me or on Swiss?

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Lori,

      Thank you for another comment!

      It’s interesting that the airline and its captain differs in their statements.

      I am afraid that even though the reason (which has been told by the captain) would be confirmed by the airline, it will be considered as extraordinary.

      However, try to make some pressure on them to provide if all measures had been taken to avoid such a situation.

      Let me know in case of any further questions and have a good night,


  • Kathleen Cavanaugh

    Hi, would a crew member that called in sick on the day of the flight (we were not in flight) constitute extraordinary. Above you now serious illness during flight but my flight was cancelled about 5 hours before departure because a crew member phoned in ill. Thanks

    • Kamila Z.

      Hi Kathleen,

      Thank you for your question.

      My answer is simple – certainly not.

      The airline is liable to do everything they can to operate your flight on time. If some of the crew member team is ill, 5 hours before the flight, they should find a replacement or prove that they did their best.

      Hope it helps!

      Have a nice evening,


      • Kathleen Cavanaugh

        Thanks. That is what AerLingus came back with and so now I have appealed to our National mediator. They refused compensation stating that this constitutes extraordinary and therefore falls within that very broad clause.

  • James N

    I recently had a flight with United delayed 3.5 hours by an undisclosed “Air Traffic Control” delay. Only United flights were delayed out of Dulles on January 2nd. The weather was a chilly 53 degrees farhenheit and it there was a light rain. With my flight delayed by 3.5 hours, I missed my connecting flight to Sydney, AUS and thus missed boarding the cruise ship I was supposed to be on for the next 14 days. I had to book hotels and travel to New Zealand to catch up to my boat, of which I missed 4 days on.

    United is telling me they won’t do a thing to compensate me at this time and won’t tell me why the flight was delayed. I’ve lost $1300.00(cost of 4 days missed) for the cruise, another $600.00 for the flights to New Zealand and $300.00 for the hotel stays I had to book. Not to mention a couple hundred dollars for clothes I had to buy because United didn’t put my bag on my next flight to Sydney.

    What sort of actions can I take to seek compensation at this juncture?

    • Kamila Z.

      Hi James,

      I’m really sorry to hear that!

      Well, the ATC restriction is considered as something out of hands of the airline.

      However, try to claim under the Montreal Convention. It allows you to get a compensation for your direct monetary expenses caused by the delay (which you can clearly prove I suppose).

      You may also claim the baggage delay under the Montreal Convention, check out our blog post on baggage delay issues (unfortunately, you must make a complaint within the 21 days since your baggage was delivered).

      Let me know in case of any further questions and have a great night,


  • Davie L

    We travelled on Flight (Orlando to Gatwick), this was delayed and arrived at Gatwick around 90mins late at 9:15am, we had a connecting flight Gatwick to Glasgow, that was scheduled to leave at 10.10am, upon arrival at Gatwick I received a text and email (both at time stamped around 8:39am) to advise that the flight was cancelled. We were rebooked to then travel from Heathrow at 17:45. We went to the BA desk at Gatwick and were told no other flights could be offered and in fact the customer service we received was very poor and dismissive. We asked for lounge access given that we had about 7hours 45mins to wait thinking this was not unreasonable however this was treated with quick ‘oh you have no chance of that as the lounges will be very busy’. I calculate that in total we had over 9 hours of delays and cancellations.
    There were flights landing around the same time as we did and also leaving around the time our flight was due to leave at 10.10am.
    BA have refused compensation and cited adverse weather conditions (fog) and needing to reduce flow rate, yes it was foggy but I suspect the reason our flight was cancelled because it wasn’t full and the fog is a convenient excuse. Do you think we can take this any further?

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Davie,

      Thank you for your interesting comment.

      It’s sometimes very difficult to get any help from the airline’s staff, right? It pays off to insist in your arguments and be knowledgeable of your rights.

      However, to confirm the reason of your delay you should ask the airline for a proof, alternatively ask National Enforcement Body for help.

      Unfortunately, bad weather is really complicated so in the case of negative results, we can try to help you with your case by the court way.

      Let me know and have a good night,


  • mare

    Hi Jakub,

    My flight from VLC to TSR (27
    nov 2016) was canceled. Incoming flight from TSR to VLC was diverted to BCN, so
    we have to rebook flight for tomorrow from Madrid. We spent night at the airport
    (there’s no assistance from Wizz) and paid train to Madrid.

    Airport was closed temporary (2-3
    hours and after that planes started to arrive and depart). I believe that Wizz has
    an option to send plane from BCN to pick us up and we’ll arrive to TSR in
    reasonable timeframe (2-3 hours later than schedule). I believe they didn’t wish
    to risk to send plane to VLC because it could get stuck if storm start again
    and it will make knock-on in TSR next day.

    I can accept delay due to bad
    weather but cancelation is very suspicious.

    I put a claim to Wizz and after
    2 months they finally decided to reimburse costs but I insist that i want
    compensation or proof of cancelation duo to bad weather in form of official
    document. They’re refusing to send me any document and keep saying it’s
    classified document and they can’t send it to customer. I have to believe what
    some agent in customer relations wrote in email!!!

    What’s your opinion about this
    case? Should I insist on proof or I don’t have this case and I should accept


    • Kamila Z.

      Hi Mare,

      Thank you for your question.

      Firstly, I would like to make clear that the reimbursement of your costs and compensation for a flight delay are two separate issues, thus if the airline pays a reimbursement the potential entitlement for a compensation won’t perish. Also, to get a proof you may consider a help from the National Enforcement Body or relevant ADR (if possible).

      Let us know the results and have a nice evening,


  • Mireille Bos

    Hello, my flight was cancelled so they booked us on another flight which caused a delay of 24 hrs. I claimed but my claim was rejected because of ‘extraordinairy circumstances’ which were ‘the delay of the incoming aircraft in his previous rotation, caused by a technical defect which becomes apparent prior to departure’. I answered with your references to the lawsuits about this, and received this reply: We are aware of the ruling of the European Court of Justice and the related individual court cases you refer to. However, this ruling also states that airlines have a liability exoneration possibility in case it can be proven that the considered flight irregularity occurred in circumstances which are considered extraordinary and which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

    Flight LX288 on 26 April 2016 was postponed due to the delay of the incoming aircraft in his previous rotation, caused by a technical defect which becomes apparent prior to departure. Such a flight safety shortcoming must be considered unavoidable as such an incident cannot be totally excluded even if all precautionary measures are taken and all maintenance instructions are complied with.

    This interpretation is supported by the European commission, which has published a list of extraordinary circumstances in which technical defects which become apparent immediately prior to departure are specified to be extraordinary.
    ‘List of extraordinary circumstances following the National Enforcement Bodies (NEB) meeting held on 12 April 2013

    We ask for your understanding that in this case, considering the circumstances mentioned above, no compensation can be granted.

    While we would like to have an opportunity to be of service to you again in the future, Please consider this email as our final statement.

    is there anything i can do now? as they say this is their final statement do I need to take this to a court of law?

    thanks, mireille

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Mireille,

      Thank you for your comment!

      This is a classic statement from the airline, especially from Swiss. Fortunately, the technical problem isn’t considered as an extraordinary circumstance.

      So use the same counter argument and I believe you will receive a very different answer.

      If not, let us know and we’ll be happy to help you with the court way!

      Have a great evening,


  • Annefloorm

    Hi Jakub, hopefully you still run this blog and you can help me out with this:
    On December 27th 2016 I flew with Finnair from Amsterdam to New Delhi via Helsinki. Once in Helsinki I found out my my flight to Delhi (flight AY021) was 5 hours delayed because of an ill pilot. The one who had to stand in for him already had too many flight hours so we had to wait until he was allowed to fly again.
    I received a coupon with a value of 17 euros to buy some food and that was it. Until now Finn Air refuses to compensate me financially even though I had to buy a new (expensive) plane ticket in New Delhi because I missed my flight from Delhi to Goa when I arrived in Delhi. I would like to know if Finn Air is correct in not compensating me. Thanks in advance!

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello there,

      Thank you for your interest! And yes we are still running this blog even though it might seem differently.

      To answer your question – the airline should reimburse your costs spent on alternative flight ticket (or provide one) and also they should be able to replace the pilot or provide a proof that they did everything possible to avoid such a delay.

      Let us know how it went and have a nice evening,


  • Katie O’Connor

    Hi I have a question…

    I was recently booked on an easyjet flight from bologna to Gatwick that was delayed by 19 hours due to a private jet overrunning the runway and landing in the mud causing bologna to close the airport until 2.15am however by this time the flight could not take off due to the working hours restrictions on the pilots. Does this count as extraordinary or not as it was clearly the human error of the pilot of the private plane? We were left waiting for 8 hours before being told that we would need to be given overnight accomodation which the airline screwed up by sending too many passengers to a hotel with not enough rooms and resulting in us waiting another 2 hours before being given another hotel. They also did not provide any transport to or from the hotels even though they were supposed to. This delay impacted on my family also as my father in law had to cancel a course and hotel that he had booked and paid for but could not go to due to having to look after animals at home because I was delayed. Basically I am asking can I claim compensation for 1- myself and 2- my father in law?



    • Kamila Z.

      Hi Katie,

      I’ll separate my answer into two part.

      Firstly, if you have any receipts of expenses which have been caused by the delay (transport for example), use it to claim a reimbursement.

      Secondly, the restriction certainly came from ATC – meaning extraordinary circumstances.

      However, it’s weird that due to this the pilot was out of hours. Try to ask for a proof additionaly use the National Enforcement Body to have slightly better leverage.

      Hope it helps!

      Have a nice evening,


  • Victoria Parnell

    Hi, can you help please. On October 9th 2016 we were due to fly home from Kefalonia with Thomson Holidays. Thomson cancelled the flight due to an impending air strike. The strike was called off on Saturday 8th October 2016. Thomson have thrown out our claim for compensation saying it was exceptional circumstances. Can they legally reject our claim for 800 euros?

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Victoria,

      If I understand correctly – the strike never happened?

      Honestly, I don’t know whose strike do you mean but if it was a strike of the Air Traffic Controller staff it’s considered as extraordinary even though it has never taken a place.

      Please let me know in case it would be a different strike.

      Have a nice evening,


  • hazel

    Hi Jakub , question for you , we flew Ethiad airlines that should have been Abu Dhabi bound , instead we landed in a military airbase in Dubai , it was a very traumatic incident and we were given very little information as to what was happening . We were delayed for about 7/8hrs in total.Resulting in having to get a “bonded” coach from the miliatary airbase to the aiport in Abu Dhabi , all we were and have been told is that there was a security threat on board. Where do we stand on this ? taking into consideration the stress and lack of communication from the airline as to what was happening during this whole process ? please advise …thank you.

    • Kamila Z.

      Dear Hazel,

      I understand that such an experience is really inconvenient!

      But if there was a real possibility of the security threat (do you know something more specific?) there won’t be any liability of the airline to pay a compensation.

      Let me know if you have some more info about the threat, alternatively try to ask the airline.

      Have a great evening,


  • Max Radford

    Hi Jakub

    Thank you for a very well written article.

    My question to you is this.

    My flight was delayed (Easyjet) from Tel Aviv to London.
    Was due to take of at 7.35 pm but when we arrived at the airport was told delay of 1 hour.
    Then we were told two hours so 9.30 pm and that is was due to a passenger on an incoming flight being taken ill and needing to stop and drop off En route to Tel Aviv.

    At that point we were told that our london bound flight will stop on the way in Milan to change crew as the crew would be “out of ours” mid flight. Then we were told that stop off would be in Athens (nearer to Tel Aviv) to change crew. Finally informed that the flight was cancelled and will be the following day around 12.00 Midday, some 16 hours later.

    The claim against easyjet came back with “Extraordinary” under EC 261/2004 confirming that it was due to a medical emergency.

    The thing is Jakub, the medical emergency was not on our flight… it was on the incoming flight which was only delayed by an hour or so. The plane was sitting at the gate when we were preparing to board at 9pm but it was the lack of staff/crew out of hours that our flight was cancelled.

    please advise as to weather my claim is valid. I do not believe that passanger illness on a prior flight constitutes extraordinary circumstances for my flight. My flight was cancelled due to inadequate staffing.

    many thanks


    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Max,

      Thank you for the great comment.

      The initial reason is of course considered as an extraordinary circumstance.

      However, it should have been predicted by the airline that the crew won’t make i so I believe that some possibility of getting a compensation exists.

      If you have read some of our previous answers it might seems that it just repeats, but persevere in argument sometimes really helps.

      So I would like to recommend you to ask for a proof and don’t be afraid to use National Enforcement Body or relevant ADR.

      Also, please let us know how it went!

      Have a nice evening,


  • paige boateng

    Hi Jakub,
    I was wondering if you would be able to advise me on how to proceed with an easy jet claim. We was due to fly on New Year’s Eve (Saturday 31st Decemeber 2016) the day before was foggy but we checked online before we left and it said our flight was on time. When we arrived at the airport it became delayed by 40 mins, then went decreased to a 20min delay. We rushed to the gate and found everyone waiting for board, we was delayed for a further hour at the gate. We lined up to board the plane and then the line did not move, after 30mins of standing someone at the check in desk told us to take a seat back at the gate because it would be a while.

    1 hour and a half later I saw the crew walking off the plane and they announced that the flight was cancelled until the next morning ( total delay 23 hours). They check us into a hotel in Gatwick and gave use dinner and breakfast.

    We tried to claim when we got back because it the staff told us the flight was cancelled because of flight delays therefore they had no crew to fly the plane as they was over their hours.

    Easy jet is claiming bad weather when we tried to claim but it is I am unsure if that was the full reason and I believe it had more to do with the crew going over their hours than the fog.

    How would you advise us to proceed?



  • Jade Sulph-Dearing

    Hi Jakub

    I was scheduled to fly from Gdansk (Poland) to Luton airport with Wizz Air but the plane never arrived in Gdansk from its previous destination.

    We were told it was due to a technical issue with the plane and provided with an alternative flight and accommodation and food until then.

    Upon arriving back in the U.K. I applied for the EU compensation, but the airline say technical issue was due to extraordinary circumstances.

    I’ve asked for more information around the circumstances and the report, which they say the don’t provide to the public.

    Am I doing the right thing chasing them?

    Thanks again.

  • Allisone

    Hi Jakub
    I was flying from Alicante (flight no EZY1918) to Manchester on 23rd of Feb. Storm Doris day. We took off at 11.05 (landing at 1 pm) & the captain said “I’m not going to lie – the rain is horizontal at Manchester” As we flew in he said “out of 10 planes only 2 have managed to land”. We got diverted to Glasgow, arriving at 3 ish, then coached back to Manchester arriving at 11.15 pm.
    I have tried to claim but “Extraordinary” was put for not paying claim.
    My argument is: They knew at take off that Doris was in full flow & that they may not be able to land at Manchester. How can they claim “Extraordinary” when they knew in advance at departure airport about Doris & Manchester was not closed as they tried to land, pulling up at last moment (very scary).

    Is my next step to ask for a “Evidence of Extraordinary Event”?

    Many thanks

  • Jamie Roberts


  • PJ

    Hi Jakub,

    Finnair are refusing compensation on the grounds of delay caused by a passenger and their luggage being unloaded from aircraft who did not have valid travel documents.

    Seems like something airlines should be prepared for and also raises questions on why the passenger was allowed to board in the first place if they did not have valid travel documents.

    Seen anything like this before?

    Regards, PJ

  • Benji

    Hi there,
    Really insightful article on here. Very much appreciated.

    BA turns down a 4 hour delay claim due to “earlier heavy landing of aircraft caused by a sudden wind shear just before aircraft touched down. Lead to a hydraulic leak so had to be fixed”.

    From your article, am quite confident I have a case. Kindly advise.

  • Eliška Mollová

    Hi Jakub,

    The same thing happened to us. We were delayed by over 3 hours with easyJet due to “extraordinary weather conditions”. As you said, we wrote to them asking for evidence, however this is what they replied:

    easyJet do not provide copies of the Disruption Report that details weather conditions leading to delays or cancellations.

    I have, however, re-checked the Flight Disruption Report and I can confirm that the reason for your cancellation was adverse weather conditions causing knock on effects over the course of the day.

    This is classified as extraordinary and as such no EUC compensation is payable on this occasion.

    So now what?

    Thank you for your reply!

  • Fred Rose

    American airlines: Took a flight from Dallas to John Wayne airport. Flight had to land at Ontario Airport 40 miles away. Pilot stated the plane was carrying to much Weight to land at John Wayne as it has a shorter run way. After landing in Ontario and letting some passengers off we then flew to John Wayne Airport. I filed a complaint and was told by American Airlines it was a weather issue. I told them it was a weight issue as people were let of the plane and we then Landed at are designated airport once the weight was reduced.

  • Randi Elisabet Breivik

    Hi Jakub
    This site is most informative and I thank you for that. I used a verdict you mentioned of technical problems in a previous complaint, and it turned out in mu favour.

    Now my air line (where I live we have only one in the winter time) has a new excuse. They say that the cansellation was due to the crew being stuck in bad weather conditions at another airport in the country.
    Is that really a valid reason? I think not, but do you know if a thing like that has been tried in court?

    Thank you.

  • Roberta

    Hi Jakub,
    Thanks for the good article, it summarizes a lot of useful information.
    I would like, if possible, to hear your quick opinion on the following.
    My flight was cancelled due to a truck, at the airport, which hit accidentally the second engine of the plane while we were already on-board and it damaged the engine so badly that we could not take off for security reason.
    I have asked for compensation, but they claimed the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and Montreal convection, saying that this was out of their control.
    Do you think that this is really out of their control and can be labelled therefore as an unpredictable event?
    The truck was the one carrying the machine for defrosting the plane wings from ice before taking off (hard Scandinavian winter 🙂 ) …not sure, but I assume that such operation is managed and run by the airport and not the company. What is your opinion?
    Is it worth at least to ask for proof and evidence?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Suzanne Yung

    Hi Jakub
    Can you claim for a flight cancellation due to a ground staff strike, when the airport staff were striking the day before my son travelled and they were threatening more strikes imminently? The Airline did not forewarn my son before he travelled. If they had, then he would have made sure his insurance covered strikes which unfortunately the cover he took out didn’t. He was stranded in Berlin last Monday , they offered him a flight home the next day but he had to be back in university the next morning for an exam so ended up having to pay for a first class train ticket to Hamburg of about £60 and pay £230 on a flight homeas that was all that was available. Ryan Air only oferred him £35 refund on his return flight stating extraordinary circumstances which the travel company have also stated. Incidentely they were still striking the following day so he still wouldnt have been able to get back then?

  • Andrea

    Hi Jakub, I appreciate your very informative post.

    I was scheduled to go on a flight from Vancouver, Canada to Paris, France. The night before the flight the airline said the flight was delayed, then cancelled, then I was re-booked onto the following day’s flight with a slightly earlier departure than usual. So in the end, some sources say the flight was cancelled, and some say it was delayed (and I saw both terms used while I was waiting for things to get sorted). Either way, I received no “care” from the airline, and no explanation until I was on the plane 21 hours later than scheduled.

    The next day, while on the tarmac, the pilot made an announcement that the pilot he was filling in for had become sick in Vancouver and that the airline had to fly a new pilot all the way from France to Vancouver to replace the one who fell ill. That flight is about 9 or 10 hours with 2 or 3 hours that the plane is on the tarmac for cleaning and fuelling, so you can see where the mess up came from. There’s only one flight per day in each direction for that airline.

    The airline is now telling me it was not an extraordinary circumstance because it was a pilot illness, but surely they must have a back-up plan in case a pilot falls sick during his off hours between flights. I understand that if a pilot becomes seriously ill during a flight, the plane may need to be grounded, but the text message notifying me of the change came through around 9 or 10 pm the night before the scheduled flight which should have departed around 1:30 pm the next day. There should have been time for the airline to sort itself out and get the passengers en route to Paris without a 21 hour delay.

    My guess is that the airline does not want to pay an extra salary to have a stand-by pilot in Vancouver in case these things happen, but really, they must lose a lot more money having to pay out hundreds of passengers each time a pilot gets sick. I think this case requires compensation because it was a delay that could have been prevented. Everyone gets sick from time to time. No, the timing is not predictable, but the fact that it is one day going to happen is just as ordinary as the breaking down of mechanical parts over time. It is inevitable that a pilot will eventually become sick and the airline should have a contingency plan in place for such circumstances. Do you not agree?

  • Alex Adam Al-Hou

    Hello Jakob
    Before 3 weeks Me and my friend had a flight from Berlin to Dubai with a stop in Istanbul
    (PEgasus airline) and the flight to istanbul was 3,05h delayed, Ian there anything we can do or if you can help us with it would be better

  • Federico Nuñez Cooper

    Hi Jakub, I have a question, my airplane from Zurich to Sao Paolo emergency landed in Dakar and we were stuck there for 13 hours, making me loose my connection flight in Sao paolo to Montevideo, where I received a hotel to spend the night until next mornings flight. Do I have right for compensation of the 13 hours stuck in dakar, or that i arrived at destination more than 24 hours after? kind Regards

    • SandyMac

      Hi Jakub, my wife and I were also on this flight, ZRH-GRU making an emergency landing in DKR.
      The original arrival time in GRU was 07:05 (13/03/2017) the replacement flight landed at 23:00 (13/03/17). On March 15th 2017 The Aviation Herald reported the following:
      “both fuel pumps on engine #2 (CFM56, inboard left hand) failed. In addition the crew received a smoke detector indication from the lower deck mobile crew rest. The smoke indication was later determined to have been false.”

      In DKR we were given 1 sandwich and 1 250ml bottle of water, and prior to landing in GRU the Swiss crew came through the cabin, giving out cards which allowed the recipient to claim a CHF voucher with Swiss or Air miles, however they gave out two different sets of cards, on the left side of the cabin passengers received cards offering 200 CHF and on the right side the cards offered only 50 CHF!
      I have not tried to claim against the voucher as it will void a full claim under EU Article 261/04 right? I am going to send a letter directly to the airline requesting compensation.

      • Federico Nuñez Cooper

        Hi Sandy,
        We are entitled to 600 euro compensation. Airlines usually declines your request three times before they accept ( happened to me with both Qatar airways and Vueling) just keep fighting back, we are entitled to the compensation.

        • SandyMac

          Hi Federico, I will do thanks for the update, I must admit with work I forgot ot look here for your response it does seem like Jakub is not so active on his blog! Real shame it was well set out.
          Hope you are well, all the best Sandy

  • Federico Nuñez Cooper

    Are you not responding the questions anymore?

  • Michael Embury

    Hi. Great site by the way.Norwegian Airlines recently denied a claim we made for compensation, (using European guidelines for compensation) on a flight that was delayed 3 hours 15 minutes from Oslo to Ft Lauderdale. Wife missed connecting flight, had to pay for re-booking + pay for a hotel as no more flights that night. Their reply was:”Reason for disruption: This delay was caused by mandatory security measures.”
    Sounds like a blanket reply to make people go away or are you aware of a law that allows airlines to do this? BA in the past have not contested compensation claims for cancelled and delayed flights, using the same European Guidelines for fair air travel treatment.

    • Hi Michael, thanks for sharing your experience. The situation you described is actually the reason why ClaimAir exists… airlines use these tricky phrases just to dissuade travelers from pursuing compensation further. Feel free to register your case on our website, we’ll get you the compensation. Thanks, Jakub

      • Michael Embury

        Thanks for your response Jakub. I’ll do that.

  • Julia

    What about protestors going onto the runway you’re supposed to land at (Stansted) meaning your flight is redirected to Birmingham. Would Stansted pay out for this? Or the carrier? Or neither? I’m out of pocket because they had us waiting for 4 hours at Birmingham airport to put on replacement bus services. None came and after four hours in the middle of the night, I booked myself on the first National Express coach out of there (at 3.20 a.m.)

  • willard

    Hi jakub,
    we were delayed for 5.5 hours on a norwegian air flight. I sent a request for compensation but norwegian say that our delay was due to exceptional circumstances.

    Flight disruption information:
    Norwegian flight: xxxxxx
    Disruption type: Delayed
    Delay time: 5 hours and 37 minutes 
    Reason for disruption: This delay was caused by an earlier disruption within our network that had a direct effect on this flight. The original flight was disrupted due to a medical divertion

    There’s no further action I can take is there?

  • Amy


    My claim has been rejected by the airline on the grounds that it was delayed because of aircraft damage which wasn’t caused by us (BA), which prevented the aircraft operating as scheduled.
    Basically we all boarded, someone was late and not allowed on the flight therefor his baggage was taken off the aircraft, there was then a problem with the baggage door not closing, when this was being investigated they found damage to the plane (some sort of large scratch). We were told to disembark and then later boarded the same plane (5 hours total delay)
    My question really is, how is this not the airlines fault and do you think there is chance of a claim?

  • Pamela Maher

    I was travelling from Montreal via Zurich to Manchester with Swiss international airlines.
    The flight from Montreal was delayed causing me to miss my connection to Manchester but I later found out that the flight from Zurich to Manchester was cancelled anyway. Therefore I was rerouted via Frankfurt where I had a 6 hour wait. I eventually arrived in Manchester approx. 10 hours late. I am a 70 year old lady so this caused me a considerable amount of stress. In Zurich I was given a phone card which I was unable to use and a meal voucher which I didn’t have time to use.

  • Hannah Jones

    Hi Jakub,
    Would be really grateful for some advice. On a recent EU flight which was already delayed by an hour, we were an hour into the flight (45 mins from destination) and advised there was a crack in the cockpit window so returning to our original airport. We returned, there were a number of other delays, and then a new plane organised – we got to our destination 5 hours late. Do you think this would be considered an extraordinary circumstance? You reference above that tech issues shouldnt occur during a flight so if they do then it may be considered to be extraordinary, however even if this was the case, the pilot made the decision to return to the original airport (where the company is based and presumably had engineers who could fix the windscreen) rather than continue to destination which would have been quicker to get to.

    Grateful for any advice.


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