If a flight you’re booked on is delayed or cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation – but only where the airline is at fault
Under EU law, airlines are required to pay compensation to passengers when their flights are delayed or cancelled. However, you only have the right to compensation in some circumstances.
There are two key factors:
The EU law on flight compensation uses the term ‘extraordinary circumstances’ to refer to situations where delays or cancellations have been caused by things outside of the airline’s control.
If extraordinary circumstances apply, you are not entitled to compensation.
It can sometimes be difficult to establish whether a problem with a flight was caused by extraordinary circumstances. Airlines should tell you why your flight was delayed — but even then the situation may not be clear.
If you’re trying to work out whether extraordinary circumstances apply, it can help to think about these questions:
Some common situations where extraordinary circumstances apply include:
The EU has published a longer list of what National Enforcement Bodies (organisations like the CAA across the EU) consider extraordinary circumstances to include.
However, even with this to help, it can still be difficult to know for sure whether you are eligible for compensation.
If you are not sure whether extraordinary circumstances apply to your flight, but have read about your other rights and think you might have a case, it is usually worth applying to your airline for compensation. If they reject your claim then you can consider whether to pursue it further at that point.
If you think you have a strong case for compensation, see how to lodge a claim with your airline.
Heathrow Airport Limited required some airlines to reduce the number of flights they were due to operate as a result of forecast fog on 14 March 2014. During fog conditions it is necessary to provide for greater time periods between aircraft to ensure flights can continue to operate safely. The following flights were cancelled due to the bad weather and the CAA considers that airlines could claim the cancellation was due to an extraordinary circumstance and that financial compensation would not apply for these flights.
Scheduled Time of Departure