Understanding Extraordinary Circumstances Under EU 261 Regulations

2019-09-09
extraordinary circumstances mist on airport

The EU 261 regulations were drafted in 2004 to provide passengers with a clear set of rights covering missed flights. The list is knitted around flight delays, cancellations, and boarding denials caused by circumstances that fall outside passengers’ control. Flight disruptions due to extraordinary circumstances entitle you to compensation to cover your rescheduled flights and other costs.

Departure Nations

Since EU261 regulations are EU-specific, you only qualify if your departure was scheduled to leave from an EU airport, regardless of your airline. If your schedule includes an EU carrier, you will be able to secure coverage under the same regulations, even if your missed flight happened six years ago, provided the airline you flew with is still operating.

The EU flight cancellation compensation extraordinary circumstances  were redrafted in 2011 and include the following circumstances:

  • Military unrest that causes delays.
  • Employee strikes and security problems.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Denied boarding, provided the airline’s refusal to carry you falls outside the scope of health, safety, security, or inadequate travel documents.
  • Flight cancellations for booked flights as long as an alternative flight wasn’t provided in good time. If three or more hour delays are caused, you will qualify for compensation.
  • Mobile boarding stair collision isn’t included in the regulations unless it was caused by conscious sabotage.
  • If your flight takes off, but is forced to reroute back to the airport, it qualifies as a cancellation or a delay and is thus an extraordinary circumstance.

The EU regulation 261 o4 extraordinary circumstances list includes acts of terrorism or sabotage. This includes damage to your aircraft, but not hidden manufacturing defects. In some circumstances, air congestion due to poor weather is classified under the EU regulation 261 extraordinary circumstances. Weather itself isn’t sufficient, however. The air carrier must fail to arrange its resources in a timely fashion in order to qualify.

EU Flight Compensation Extraordinary Circumstances in Multimodal Trips

If your trip is booked under a multimodal contract that combines rail and air travel, your delays aren’t covered by the EU 261 extraordinary circumstances rules. If, for example, your train delay causes you to miss your flight, you won’t receive compensation.

EU flight delay compensation extraordinary circumstances apply to a single leg of your journey. If you missed a return flight because of a delayed connection flight, interpretations of your compensation become a little complicated. If, for example, your non-EU carrier departed late from a non-EU country, your EU connection cannot be compensated for.

How to Get Compensation

Compensation varies between 250 and 600 Euro in the case of a flight delay. The exact amount is determined by the length of your delay, the length of your scheduled trip, and whether it arrived at the destination at all. The form your compensation takes is up to you. If your flight is delayed by five or more hours, you will be given the choice of a ticket refund, a re-routed trip, or a rescheduled and rerouted trip. Most airlines work hard to make reparations for a delayed flight, offering alternative trips at no extra charge, so your first port of call should be your ticket office. That said, if the carrier offers you inferior compensation, it’s best not to accept it. Hold onto all receipts related to the delay, including hotel costs, and secure professional help through specialist organisations like GIVT.

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