CHRISTMAS is a busy time for travel, so delays and hold-ups at the airport are often expected, particularly when the snow starts to fall. What happens if your flight is cancelled due to snow? Are you entitled to compensation?
Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for travel, with droves of people across the world jetting off to visit family and friends, or head on a festive holiday. However, winter is also one of the most common times for adverse weather conditions – in particular, snow. While modern aircraft are built to withstand many intense weather conditions, often they simply can not take off when the snow falls. With that comes a backlog of delayed and even cancelled flights, throwing many passenger’s plans into disarray.
Unfortunately, even if a cancelled flight caused chaos for your Christmas, airlines do not have pay passengers compensation.
If an airline is grounded by air traffic control due to safety regulations, the cancellation is not at the fault of the airline.
By EU law, airlines only have to offer monetary compensation if they are “at fault” for the cancellation.
Adverse weather conditions such as snow, storm, freezing rain or fog exempt airlines from paying compensation.
However, as part of EU regulations, airlines do have to ensure that passengers either receive the money-back for their ticket or are rebooked onto an alternative flight free of charge.
A per the CAA, airlines must even book passengers onto rival carriers if the other airline is flying to your destination “significantly sooner”.
They state: “You can discuss this with your airline”.
If a flight is delayed or cancelled, and a passenger is stranded for an extended period of time, airline’s are responsible for offering care and assistance to travellers.
This included subsidising the costs of meals and beverages while they wait, as well as access to communications if required.
Should a delay span overnight, passenger’s should also be covered for the cost of accommodation.
Of course, this can be frustrating for travellers who may have alternative accommodation or event tickets purchased at their end destination.
In fact, in such instances, traveller’s could end up losing money for these things, as they are still obligated to cover the co, regardless of the flight chaos.
Air Traffic Controller Paul Diestelkamp explained to Express.co.uk why wintery weather is often the cause of major delays.
“Sometimes flights avoid bad weather and thunderstorms which means they may fly a bit longer than planned or fog means we can’t see the planes and the pilots can’t see either and have to fly only by their instruments.
“This slows things down and means only less flights can land or take off which may cause delay.
“If something goes wrong or gets delayed with the boarding or loading of the aircraft, then the flight simply isn’t ready to depart on time and there is nothing we can do as Air Traffic Controllers to help this.”
“Weather is a good example for things that influence air traffic and we simply can’t control what happens there,” continues Paul.
“This doesn’t mean that weather is dangerous, we have technology and procedures that allow us to manage traffic as safely in bad weather as in good, but sometimes these procedures do mean that things slow down.
“In the winter for example, when it is freezing, aeroplanes have to de-ice to ensure there is no ice on the aircraft that would impact its ability to fly. “Because safety always is the top priority, things are always done safely rather than quickly and that may mean that a flight departs a few minutes later because it is de-iced first.