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Flights cancelled and/or delayed due to weather

If passengers are unable to fly on time due to severe weather conditions, thick fog or an ash cloud, generally speaking, they are not entitled to compensation. This is because weather conditions are considered as an “extraordinary circumstance”, as referred to in Article 5 III of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004. The airline has no control over such circumstances, nor can they stop them from arising, even if “all reasonable measures had been taken by the air carrier concerned to avoid the delays or cancellations” - according to the EU Regulation.

Use our online compensation calculator to check whether you are entitled to compensation and then get Flightright to enforce your claim at the touch of a button.

Flight delays and cancellations due to bad weather
Check your claim in 2 minutes

When am I entitled to compensation in the event of storms?

  • If other flights are taking off at the same time, this may be an indication that your flight could have gone ahead; and:
  • Your flight was no more than 6 years ago.
  • You arrived on time at check-in
  • Your flight started within the EU or landed in the EU. In the latter case the airline must be based in the EU
  • You arrived at least 3 hours later at your final destination

What should I do if my flight is disrupted due to weather?

  • Ask the airline to confirm the reason for the delay in writing
  • Make use of the complimentary food and drinks at the airport
  • Check if other flights at the airport are operating
  • Use our compensation calculator to check if you have a claim

Is it possible to claim compensation for bad weather?

As established by EU Regulation 261/2004 , passengers can receive between €250 and €600 in cases of flight delays, cancellations or overbookings. The exception to the rule are flight disruptions caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’. In this case airlines are under no obligation to pay out compensation to customers. Extreme weather conditions such as ash cloud fall under this category and thus passengers are not eligible for a compensation.

However, there are exceptions to this rule, under which the airline may be held liable for damages caused by cancellations or delays. In order for the European Regulation to apply, the flight must have taken off from a European airport, or must have been operated by a European airline and landed in the European Union. These conditions apply regardless of the ticket price, and also apply to those travelling on business or on package holidays. Your claims are valid up to 6 years retrospectively.

In which cases will you not receive compensation due to bad weather?

Passengers are not entitled to compensation due to adverse weather conditions if any of the following events occur:

  • Ash cloud: When a natural disaster occurs, it’s force majeure. Air traffic is affected and flights cannot operate. The ash cloud hinders the visibility of the pilot and ash particles can affect the sensors of the height and speed measuring instruments.
  • Adverse weather conditions: Aircraft must often remain on the ground or take off later when extreme weather occurs. Adverse weather conditions such as snow, storm, freezing rain or fog exempt airlines from paying compensation.
  • Stormy front: The Darmstadt Regional Court ruled that there is no compensation either, if the previous flight is forced to land in an emergency because of a stormy front and the next flight is delayed or cancelled as a result.

How much compensation can be claimed?

For flights delayed by more than 3 hours, cancellations or denied boarding? The European Regulation allocates different amounts of compensation depending on the distance of the flight:

  • If the flight distance is up to less than 1500km, the value of the compensation is €250 for a delayed, or cancelled flight or overbooked flight.
  • If the flight distance is between 1500 km and 3500 km, the value of the compensation is €400 for a delayed, or cancelled or overbooked flight.
  • If the flight distance is greater than 3500 km, the value of compensation is €600 for a flight delay a or cancellation or an overbooked flight.
Compensation for flight delays, cancellations and overbooking based on flight distances

Airlines using bad weather as an excuse

When an aircraft’s take-off is delayed or cancelled due to bad weather, this is presumably because the conditions are such that it is deemed as unsafe to fly. If this is the case then of course it makes sense for the airlines to postpone flights until a suitable time arises. But, the airlines have been known to use bad weather as an excuse for what was actually an avoidable delay or cancellation. However, a key indicator to determine the veracity of the airline’s claim will be if the other airlines are operating flights as normal while yours is disrupted.

Airlines sometimes cite "bad weather" as the cause for flight disruption, in order to alleviate themselves from issuing compensation. This becomes evident when your flight is cancelled, but the other airlines' flights are not affected by the so-called "bad weather". However, it is difficult for passengers to prove that the aircraft was actually capable of taking off. Flightright has databases to check both the weather and flight information, so we can easily determine which aircraft were able to take off or not. This is a valuable asset to support your claim.

Another pretext commonly invoked by airlines is the absence of de-icing fluid in an aircraft. In recent years, many airlines have considered a flight cancellation due to negative temperatures and the impossibility of de-icing their aircraft as an "extraordinary circumstance". Airlines can be held liable for the non-defrosting of their aircraft if the delay due to bad weather is related to a lack of de-icing fluid. In this case, it is not an "extraordinary circumstance", since the company should have anticipated the problem, and you can therefore claim compensation.

How can I claim compensation for bad weather?

Flightright accompanies you by taking the necessary steps to claim the compensation that may correspond to you. It's as simple as that: enter your flight information in our benefit calculator. Within 2 minutes, we will tell you whether or not you can claim compensation. Thanks to our databases, our technological resources and our team of European experts, we are able to determine whether cancellation or delay is considered an "extraordinary circumstance", or whether you are eligible for compensation.

Check your claim in 2 minutes

Does the compensation benefit calculator confirm that you are eligible for compensation? Just one click is enough to give us your authorization and save you the time-consuming and time-consuming procedures with the airline. With Flightright, you can count on a committed ally who specializes in air passenger rights. Our international network of experts has already managed to recover more than 100 million euros in compensation for our clients.

Bad weather as an excuse for flight delays and cancellations

Which benefits should I get at the airport?

Whether or not the cause for flight delay or cancellation is deemed as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, as is usually the case when disruptions are caused by bad weather, you will be entitled to some services and benefits while you wait in the airport. These become available depending on the distance of your flight. Here is a table which explains what will become available, and when the departure is:

Flight distance Delay Your entitlement
2 or more hours late Short distance flights, up to 1500km Snacks and drinks as well as 2 phone calls or 2 emails
3 or more hours late Medium distance flights, between 1500km and 3500km Snacks and drinks as well as 2 phone calls or 2 emails
4 or more hours late Long distance flights, over 3500km Snacks and drinks as well as 2 phone calls or 2 emails
At least 5 hours late All flights Passengers are entitled to withdraw from the flight. The airline must then either reimburse them or find them alternative transportation
Flights postponed to the following day All flights The airline must provide accommodation in a hotel as well as transport to and from the hotel and airport

How to protect my rights on a future flight?

You have planned a flight trip in the future and want to be sure you won't miss any compensation payments in advance? No problem. You can enter your flights in advance in our compensation calculator and we will inform you if you are entitled to compensation.

Checklist: When are you not entitled to compensation in case of bad weather?

  • Bad weather like stormy front, ash cloud or adverse weather conditions where all other flights couldn’t take place as well
  • You land at your destination less than 3 hours late
  • You did not check in on time
  • Your flight was operated more than 6 years ago
  • The flight took place outside the EU
  • You do not have a valid ticket or travel documents
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