Flight Delays & Cancellations – What Are Extraordinary Circumstances And How Do I Know If I Can Claim?

Extraordinary circumstances are defined in EU Regulation 261/2004 – the law enforcing compensation delayed flights, denied boarding and flight cancellations.

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EU Regulation 261 is intended to enhance and enforce passengers’ rights, compensating them for the loss of their time and the inconvenience if their flight has been delayed.

What Are Not Extraordinary Circumstances?

If your delay was caused by one of the following, you may be entitled to compensation according to EU261.

  • Issues with airline staff e.g. crew turning up late or understaffing
  • Bad weather affecting a previous flight, causing your flight to be delayed
  • Denied boarding due to the flight being overbooked
  • Technical problems with the aircraft (except hidden manufacturing defects or problems caused by sabotage)

Why Choose Bott and Co?

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    A History Of Success

    We've claimed over £73m in flight delay compensation from the airlines.

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    Expert Legal Advice

    Recognised not just within our industry but also by Martin Lewis as “pioneers” in our field.

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    On Your Side

    Completely independent, our only focus is helping you claim for what you are legally entitled to.

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    Fully Regulated

    We are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Your claim is in safe hands.

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What Are Extraordinary Circumstances?

The term ‘extraordinary circumstances’ may apply to a number of scenarios where the delay or flight cancellation was caused by something out of the ordinary; things like:

  • Acts of terrorism or sabotage
  • Security risks
  • Extreme weather conditions e.g. volcanic ash cloud
  • Political or civil unrest
  • Hidden manufacturing defects
  • Industrial action (strikes unrelated to the airline such as baggage handlers or air traffic control)
list of flight delay compensation extraordinary circumstances

Did You Know?

Technical problems’ was once used as by a number of airlines as an excuse to avoid paying compensation in the UK, but Bott and Co put an end to this in 2014.

We took a flight delay claim all the way to the Supreme Court, arguing that technical problems should not be considered an extraordinary circumstance because they are to be expected in the running of an airline. We stated that airlines should have measures put in place to prevent delays under these circumstances.

We won the court case, bringing England and Wales in line with European law and unlocking approximately £750million in compensation for delayed passengers every year.

Meet the team
Coby Benson Head Of Flight Compensation Team At Bott and Co

Coby Benson

A member of The Law Society, Coby helped establish the flight delay compensation sector in the UK.

His work has been recognised throughout the industry, winning numerous awards, including The Manchester Law Society Associate of the Year. Coby has been a key speaker on Flight Compensation, appearing on Sky News, BBC Radio and national newspapers as a flight delay expert.


*Based on 10,211 court proceedings issued between May 2013 and February 2016.