Extraordinary Circumstances When Airlines Refuse Financial Compensation to Passengers

An airplane can get delayed or canceled due to variety of reasons. In some of the cases, when the claim is purely from the side of the airline company, they have this provision of paying monetary compensation to its passengers. Nowadays many of the airplanes have started refusing to pay compensation by claiming extraordinary circumstances.

It is a common term that implies “force majeure” i.e., an act of God. It is a tricky phrase that airline uses to refuse the claims of their passengers when they are legally entitled to obtain the compensation.

What are the common issues in the flight?

There can be several flight issues due to which the flight either gets delayed or canceled.  Not all types of issues are entitled to getting finacial compensation for flight issues. Delays or cancellation of flight due to only the specific ones that are mentioned below are compensated.

  • Technical issue with an aircraft
  • Hidden form of manufacturing defect
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Lightning strikes
  • Personnel strikes
  • Bird strikes
  • Late arrival of crew member/s
  • Medical grounds
  • Security and flight safety
  • Management of air traffic
  • Airport limitations and operations
  • Delayed previous flight

What is an extraordinary circumstance?

This is a term that was first introduced in the Montreal Convention. Later it was used by the Regulation No 261/2004. This term was interpreted in relation to inbound flights and outbound flights that are run by EU-based airlines.

According to this legislation, an operating airplane is not obliged to pay any form of financial compensation to its passengers in case of a canceled or delayed flight. This holds true only if one proves that such discomfort is due to any extraordinary circumstances that can’t be prevented even if all types of reasonable measures were taken by the airline.

What are the things that are covered under financial compensation?

As extraordinary claim covers financial compensation, wherein a passenger can claim the amount that includes reimbursement for refreshments, transportation between the airport, hotel accommodation, and area of accommodation), flight ticket, or getting an alternate flight.

Most of the airplanes save themselves from compensating to their customers, because a lot of them got bankrupt just because of financially compensating their passengers due to delay/cancellation of the flight as a result of volcanic eruption.

What a passenger must do when faced with extraordinary circumstances claim?

  • When confronted with such as claim, an airline must have to pay their customers with the compensation amount unless they provide a true and conclusive proof of the occurrence of an extraordinary event. A weather report is not considered as a valid proof. It is important to know what all types of documents are acceptable as a valid proof.
  • Airlines have to prove that cancellation or delay in the flight is caused due to extraordinary circumstances and it failed to be prevented in spite of taking all reasonable measures.
  • You need to ask the airline about any strong evidence that they need to show the occurrence of an extraordinary circumstances. Also, ask them what type of measures that have been used by them to avoid it. If an airplane fails to give you legitimate proof then there is something suspicious and they must pay compensation to their passengers.


This information will help uncover the unethical claim that airlines use to save themselves from paying to their disappointed passengers. With these tips you will definitely know how to deal with such claims and get the desired compensation from it.