List of extraordinary circumstances for flight delays and cancellations

Flight delays and disruptions – sadly we’ve all been there, some of us waiting for a flight which is delayed by more than 12 hours.

With the complexity of flight logistics, runaway clearance and the tons of factors, delays are inevitable – luckily there are cases during which you are entitled to flight delay compensation according to EC261.

What constitutes as „extraordinary circumstances“ and how does it affect your compensation

We at Colibra have dealt with a lot of cases of flight delay compensations, most of which would not have gone through were it not for the experience of our team.

There are circumstances, which, under Regulation 261 of the European Parliament, allow passengers of delayed flights to claim flight delay compensation, however, in the same breath there are situations in which this can be denied.

When claiming “extraordinary circumstances” airlines can refuse a client their right of compensation because the reasons of the delay were out of their control. Citing “extraordinary circumstances” provides airlines a blanket statement which can mean several things, with no need to provide further information to the affected parties for the reason of delay.

In order to understand better why an airline would use such a reason, we first need to understand what “extraordinary circumstances” in the context of the law means.

A strict definition of flight delay is not the delayed departure of a flight, but the delayed arrival of a flight – after 3 hours delay gives you right to passenger compensation.

This is a comprehensive list of the flight delays an airline can cite

Bad weather may be a reason for the delayed departure and landing of a certain flight and an airline has the right to delay such a flight provided they consider it to be a risk for the safety of the passengers and flight crew.

Any metrological anomaly such as volcanic eruption (as was the case with the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull) as well as snowstorms, windstorms and any other such event.

Airport staff strike is not an uncommon reason for the delay of a flight in which case an airline has little to no control over the behaviors of staff not under their employment.

That being said a court hearing in 2017 regarding a case of airline staff strike forbade airlines using this reasoning as “extraordinary circumstance” because the airline was responsible for said strike.

Medical emergencies are a valid reason for a flight arrival delay though it depends on the medical emergency itself – there are times where an emergency landing is required in order to save a passenger’s life.

In this case an airline has no other choice but to delay the appointed flight arrival time – in which case you are not eligible for flight delay compensation.

Flight and security risks are also a valid reason to claim “extraordinary circumstances” in cases where a flight crew has a reason to fear for their and the safety of the passengers i.e cases of terrorist attacks.

Bird strikes do happen quite often during a flight, which can cause a malfunction or a problem with proper airplane operations, in which case an airline will consider passenger safety over delays – you are not eligible for delay compensation.

With Colibra you don’t have to worry about „extraordinary circumstances“

With our innovative way of claiming flight disruption and delay compensation you don’t have to worry if the airline is telling the truth or not.

Our Colibra application automatically pays you compensation provided you have agreed to share with the community such compensation in cases where a flight is delayed over 3 hours.