Flight delay due to weather conditions: Your rights

Flight delays are frustrating, irritating and cause stress.

What if your travel plans have been ruined because of a single flight? A flight delayed due to weather conditions. What if because of that you miss another flight or flights? What are your rights in these situations? Could you be entitled to EU flight delay compensation? In short — in the EU and when travelling with EU airlines you are protected, either by the airline, European Union or your travel insurance company.

Read on to learn more on the topic.

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Lightning in the sky

What are considered adverse weather conditions?

Adverse weather conditions include unexpected, severe or unseasonal weather.

Such conditions include everything from snowstorm to tropical cyclones.

When it comes to air travel — when it is not safe to fly.

Here are a few examples:

  • Thick fog,
  • Heavy rain showers,
  • Thunderstorms,
  • Storms,
  • Strong crosswinds
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Your flight is delayed due to weather. What are your rights?

What airline are you flying with, and where are you going to?

Why it matters?

Because in many situations you are protected by the EU:

  • if it is a European airline, it applies to flights to and from Europe,
  • If it is a non-EU airline, it applies only to flights from Europe.

According to the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, Article 9, all passengers have the right to care. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t airlines fault. If your flight is delayed and you have to wait, the airline should provide meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time. It shall be offered free of charge.

Mostly it means that:

  1. If you have to wait 3 or more hours, you get a free meal and drink.
  2. If you have to wait overnight — free hotel accommodation.

In addition, two free calls, faxes or e-mails shall be offered.

How to get that free meal? Mostly it’s gonna be in form of coupons that you can exchange at the airport cafes, shops or restaurants. Contact your airline and ask for a food and drinks voucher. Ask for accommodation if you will need to spend the night at the airport.

You can also buy a meal yourself. Save receipts and request a refund later.

All passengers have the right to care.

That includes both Europeans and tourists from overseas.

Turkish Airlines airplane at the airport

What if you miss a connecting flight?

There are only a few most likely scenarios.

In some situations you will have to do nothing. Your airline will take care of everything, in other — you will have to look for a new flight yourself. In some situations you will get compensation, in others you will not. It all depends on the type of your connecting flight and some other factors.

If it is an airline protected connecting flight, you will be protected.

If it is a self transfer flight, it will be your responsibility.

Read more: Missed connecting flight due to delay: What's next?

Money and boarding pass on the table

Flight delay due to weather: Compensation

Can you also get EU flight delay compensation?

Since it isn’t airlines fault, in most situations you can’t.

However, most don’t mean all situations, and sometimes it is worth double-checking the case. Because your airline might not be telling the truth. Reference to severe weather conditions is one of the ways airlines try to avoid paying EU flight compensation.

What if the weather isn't that bad as the airline is saying?

For example, negative temperatures in Europe during the winter isn’t something extraordinary. If your flight is delayed due to negative temperatures, you may get compensation. It is winter, and the cold temperatures are not a surprise, in fact they are expected.

It is the airline’s responsibility to prepare de-icing fluid for their aircrafts.

It is also worth checking the situation at the airport.

Is your flight the only one delayed or not?

If there are tens of flights that are affected, if there are many flight delays due to weather today, mostly that will mean that the situation is serious, and you will not get flight delay weather compensation. At the same time, if your flight is the only one delayed, it is worth filing compensation claim.

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If you are still unsure whether you are eligible for compensation or not, fill in our claim form, upload your boarding pass, and we will take it from there.

By Europe and EU we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.