The “Beast from the East” weather front is causing major disruption across the UK with red weather warnings in place for many parts.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled at UK airports yesterday with many more expected today.
In some cases, delays or cancellations caused by bad weather are classed as an extraordinary circumstance under EU regulation 261. However, if you’re stuck at the airport, or are scheduled to travel over the next couple of days, please remember the following.
1. Bad Weather is not always an extraordinary circumstance.
Bad weather is not always an extraordinary circumstance, despite what an airline might tell you.
In fact, the only time weather is an extraordinary circumstance is when:
- The flight in question is directly affected by 'freak' or 'wholly exceptional weather.'
- Air Traffic Control decides to reduce flow rates due to bad weather. For example, if ATC decides only 20 planes an hour can land as opposed to the usual 45 planes an hour, that would be an extraordinary circumstance.
- Air Traffic Control decides to delay a flight, and this causes a knock-on effect to flights throughout the day.
- An airport is closed because of bad weather.
Passengers are advised to always seek a second opinion from a Solicitor if they’re told that bad weather is an extraordinary circumstance. They should also remember that they are entitled to food and drink, overnight accommodation and replacement flights regardless of the reason for the cancellation.
2. Care and Assistance.
Under Article 9 of EU Regulation 261, airlines are legally obliged to provide “care and assistance” to passengers who are delayed over 2 hours even in circumstances when they do not have the right to claim for monetary compensation.
Passengers have the right to receive the following from the airline.
- Food and drink in reasonable relation to waiting time
- Free hotel accommodation when a stay of one night or more is necessary
- Free transport between the airport and the hotel
- Two free telephone calls and emails.
If your airline has failed to meet its obligations, then you may find yourself out of pocket. We provide a downloadable template letter for you to use when claiming these expenses from the airline.
3. Know your rights when your flight is cancelled.
With all flight cancellations you are entitled to either a full refund or re-routing to your intended destination. If the airline can’t get you to your original destination within two hours of your original arrival time, then you could claim compensation under Regulation 261/2004.
For flight cancellations less than 7 days before the expected departure date you can claim flight cancellation compensation. The amount of compensation depends on whether a replacement flight is provided.
We provide full details outlining compensation amounts for all circumstances relating to cancelled flights on our guide.
Bott and Co’s Flight Delay Legal Manager Coby Benson says “Passengers are advised to always seek a second opinion from a Solicitor if they’re told that bad weather is an extraordinary circumstance. They should also remember that they are entitled to food and drink, overnight accommodation and replacement flights regardless of the reason for the cancellation.”