We regularly come across a claim that has been denied due to ‘adverse weather conditions’. But do bad weather conditions justify the delayed operation and/or a cancellation of a flight?
Bad weather conditions are extraordinary circumstances
According to EU Regulation 261/2004, an airline is not liable when the delay and/or cancellation has been caused by extraordinary circumstance which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. The obligations of the airline should be limited in this case, because the delay is out of their control. When the airline has taken all measures to try and operate the flight on time, but did not manage to avoid a disruption, then the airline is not responsible and the passenger has no right to compensation.
Claiming compensation for delayed and cancelled flights due to bad weather
However, EU Regulation 261/2004 does not provide a clear definition of extraordinary circumstances nor for bad weather conditions. Airlines have been guilty of using the ‘bad weather excuse’ too quickly. Many flight claims are therefore regularly denied with the reason being bad weather conditions. This means a flight delay or cancellation might still be subject to compensation. We are fortunate to have a large database at our disposal. In fact, many airlines pay up after we manage to prove them wrong. The passenger, however, does not have access to this data and is therefore left powerless even if the claim is unjustified.
Your flight must also be directly affected by bad weather. Airlines often use bad weather as a defence. But if the flight was delayed because of ‘knock-on’ effects of a different flight being affected by bad weather, then you are still entitled to compensation.