Gatwick flights suspended: Can you get compensated?

Yesterday evening was a stressful one for a handful of travellers in London.

City's second busiest airport - Gatwick Airport - was shut down for around two hours, leading to cancellation of at least 28 flights, about the same as many flights were diverted to other airports. The reason? Problems with air traffic control system.

The Airport's official Twitter account said:

Due to an air traffic control systems issue in Gatwick’s control tower, flights are currently suspended. We are working with ANS, our air traffic control provider, to rectify this issue as quickly as possible.

Had an issue with a flight recently? You might be eligible for up to 600€ compensation Check your compensation

British Airways planes

Was your flight affected? Can you get compensated?

If we talk about EU flight compensation, situations like this are considered extraordinary circumstances, and are exempt from compensation. So, mostly no, you will not be eligible to compensation from your airline in event like this.

Because it's something out of the airline's control.

There can be exceptions, but most of passengers will not be receiving compensation from their respective airlines.

What else is important to understand is that it did affect other flights. Not only the ones leaving and arriving to Gatwick Airport.

What are your rights, if you had a connecting flight that now you missed?

What are the responsibilities of your airline?

Know your rights (Connecting flights)

The airport resumed its work after 2 hours.

But it doesn't mean that the problem magically disappeared. All these flights that were delayed now had to leave the airport, plus the airport was busier because of all the travellers waiting for their delayed flights.

What are your rights?

  1. First of all, no matter the reason of the delay or cancellation its airline's obligation to take you to your destination or to give you a full refund. You don't have to accept coupons, unless you want them not money;
  2. If it's a connecting flight you have booked from the airline, you have nothing to worry about, because it's the airline's responsibility to put you on another flight to your destination for free. If you miss your original flight or flights;
  3. If it's a connecting flight you have booked separately, then, unfourtunately, it's your responsibility;
  4. If the delay is going to be 3+ hours, the airline mostly has to provide you with free meal and drink (mostly in form of coupons), plus two free phone calls, e-mails or faxes;
  5. In case of an overnight delay free accommodation has to be provided (unless you are departing from your "home").

All of this applies to everyone affected by yesterday's Gatwick flights suspension.

See also: What to do if your flight is delayed? 5 steps.