More than 3 hours‘ flight delays and their compensation

According to a current EC Regulation you may be entitled to a compensation if your flight was delayed for more than 3 hours. The compensation could be as much as 250EUR to 600 EUR per passenger. Regulation 261/2004 establishing common rules on the compensation and assistance of the passengers. Flight Refund has years of experience in succesfully collecting indemnity, has all the legal and technological background to help in representing your case against the airlines.
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Reasons for flight delays

The operation of flights is a complex activity, where different fields of experts work together to get air travellers from one place to another. Air traffic gets busier by the day causing overcrowded airports and airspace that may lead to more delays. The most common reasons for flight delays are severe weather conditions, industrial actions (strikes), overcrowded airports and technical shortcomings. Should an aircraft be delayed due to dangerous weather conditions – since aviation safety is primary -compensation can not be validated, airlines are only liable for mitigation of damages. However in case of some types of technical problems, labor logistic failures and at similar events airline companies are obliged to compensate their passengers with definite amounts of money. The amount of the compensation does not depend on the length of the delay but the distance of the flight route. Based on the Regulation these amounts are:

  • Under 1500 km – 250 EUR
  • Between 1500 to 3500 km – 400 EUR
  • Over 3500 km – 600 EUR

In the event of denied boarding and cancellation or long delay of flights. All passengers with valid tickets are entitled to compensation, even those under the age of 2, who sit on their parents’ laps, regardless of the fact, that these tickets cost only the 10% of a regular priced ticket. There is also no difference between the indemnity and legitimacy of Economy, Business or First Class passengers. Important addition that the directive does not distinguish scheduled, to budget or to charter airlines, all types of commercial flights departing from the EU or the operating airline is seated within the EU, are fall under the scope of the Regulation.

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Flight delays due to severe weather conditions

Severe weather conditions are the most common factors to the significant proportions of delayed flights. Unfavourable weather may not only affect the departure itself, but also the airway and the destination airport where serious flight delays or cancellations can occur. Already airborne aircrafts can be diverted due to bad weather so they diverge from their scheduled routes making the flight time longer. Bad weather conditions at the destination may slow down the operation of the airport.
In some cases the airport can shut down totally, forcing all arriving aircrafts to divert to other airports. Of course flight delays can happen other way around when the weather affected airport’s diverted traffic cause disruptions. During winter time on some airports deicing of the aircrafts is required, this activity is not scheduled therefore may cause flight delays. Since every flight has a so called take off slot, good to know that one delay can set off a chain reaction, because of an order that needs to be kept for the departing aircrafts air traffic controllers may not be able to immediately reschedule the one that was delayed on the first place . Since an aircraft for a better utilization performs 2-3 routes daily, often takes up delays during previous trips so it can have a knock-on effect to its daily schedule. In some of these cases claims can be validated if the force majeure situation does not affect the flight in question directly. At other long delays or cancellations caused by severe weather airlines liable only for mitigation of damages and not for indemnity.

Overcrowded airports

International air transportation is continuously improving; with that airport developments are not always able to keep up. Airlines mainly operate their flights to popular destinations because of market demands. Periods like Christmas, Easter, and Holidays, when masses of travellers set off, the increased traffic at the airports leads to delays. The departure and also the arrival of an aircraft demand complex logistics, just one element of this process to seize up, it can generate massive delays. Airlines only have liabilities for their own operational failures. All other cases are out of their scope of responsibility.

Flight delays due to technical shortcomings

Airplanes are complex technical structures under continuous pressure and stress, so despite regular and planned maintenance unexpected minor malfunctions can occur. Fixing of these between two flights can result in flight delays. In case of failing in repairing the problem, replacement aircraft may be required, which is also a quite time consuming task to solve. In these cases the crew for the replacement aircraft has to be available, because not all crew fit for all types of aircrafts or during the long waiting their duty time is up, new crew has to be called in. In case of technical shortcomings if the airline is ready to prove that the malfunction could not be avoided by regular maintenance, that it came about unexpectedly, maybe from an external impact (e.g flock of birds) than claims cannot be validated.
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