Extraordinary circumstances: When are you unable to receive flight compensation?
If you’ve ever had your flight cancelled or delayed and you are aware of your air passenger rights and you’ve decided to claim flight compensation, you’ve probably read the term “extraordinary circumstances”.
This is the most common phrase used by airlines to reject your claims, even if you are entitled to a compensation by law.
Even though receiving a compensation is sometimes a painstaking process, it doesn’t mean you should lose hope. If your flight has been cancelled or delayed, you are highly likely to receive compensation in accordance with the EU Regulation.
Let’s review what the EU Regulation is all about.
Short overview of EU 261/2004
Every air passenger that travels from airports within the EU or arrives in its borders, including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland is under the jurisdiction of the European Regulation 261/2004.
In accordance with the principle, any passenger that has been the victime of the abovementioned scenarios, i.e. has had their flight cancelled or delayed, is entitled to a claim for flight compensation.
Extraordinary circumstances -the most common excuse
In certain cases, the airlines are entitled to deny your claim for compensation. You might be wondering, what are those situations? In order to understand and exercise our rights as airline services, we need to clarify the concept “extraordinary circumstances”.
This helps us distinguish between flight disruptions that arise from irregularities in the airline and those that are out of their control. As such, they have a central role in the compensation dynamics.
Since the term has become a popular way for the airlines to distance themselves from any kind of responsibility for the passengers, it is important to know when the circumstances are considered extraordinary.
What are “extraordinary” circumstances?
There are several categories that are considered extraordinary circumstances:
- Political circumstances as a war scenario or civil unrests that might disrupt the flight
- Heavy rain, snow, storms and other unfavorable weather conditions that threaten security
- Industrial actions in the form of strikes related to the airline and the country, that cause delay and disruptions
- Illness of the crew and/or passengers
What circumstances are not extraordinary?
Contrary to the abovementioned, there are circumstances that the airlines label extraordinary, even though they do not belong to this category. For example:
- Technical shortcomings caused by the airline that have disrupted the flight
- The necessary documentation hasn’t been prepared on time
- Weather conditions that don’t disrupt the flight even though they had been prepared
These are the main reasons that airlines state as extraordinary circumstances in order to cancel a flight and avoid compensating for it, even though the law obliges them to do so.
It is vital to know that extraordinary circumstances may apply to one particular flight, not to a previous rotation, if there was one.
Technical and operative problems are not extraordinary circumstances, since airlines are responsible for the maintenance of their airplanes. If the airline should notice a technical problem, it should be resolved before taking off.
If a flight is delayed longer than 3 hours due to technical problems, the passengers are entitled to a compensation pursuant to EU Regulation.
Other reasons for flight interruptions
There are other situations that are not classified as extraordinary, but are categorized as “sensitive”. If you have been denied boarding or your flight has been cancelled or delayed, you will most likely receive compensation.
Here you can find out more about your rights and if you ever find yourself in these situations, you can submit your claim right away.
In a nutshell!
Without thorough knowledge of the EU Regulation and the latest decisions in terms of flight compensation, sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether the circumstances for the flight disruption are extraordinary or not.
Airlines make use of the passengers’ lack of knowledge regarding these issues in order to avoid flight compensations and excuse themselves by naming “extraordinary circumstances” for things that are their responsibility.
That is why, at times, individual claim for compensation may be difficult and you may not get the outcome you deserve.
Our compensation calculator helps you evaluate the potential value of your claim. If you decide to file a claim with Claim24, our experts will take your case in their own hands.
If you are not sure whether your case is well-founded or whether it can be attributed to “extraordinary circumstances”, do not hesitate to contact us with your details and we will be more than happy to counsel you towards the necessary steps!