Flight Delay Reasons You are Likely to Hear in Winters and Are They Valid
Flight delay is basically when an aeroplane takes off or lands later than the scheduled time. Though it is not an uncommon thing in the aviation industry, the issue, however, spikes the most during the winter season. Given the fact that a flight makes multiple journeys every single day, a delay in any of the trips might overflow and affect the flight schedules later in the day. During the winters, it is not just the delay on the part of the airlines, but also on the part of the airport authorities that can affect such delays.
So the big question lies in the fact that whether passengers can claim compensation due to some of these delays during the winter season. Some of these winter-specific delays are valid and the airline cannot be held responsible for these delays. Severe weather conditions, natural phenomenon, and airstrikes are some of the reasons, which are beyond the airline’s control. Here is a quick look at some of the valid, winter specific flight delay reasons.
Snow on the runway
Snow or slush on the runway can cause flight delays in both take-off and landing. Not only that, snow during flight can also cause changes in the flight timings. Snow on the runway can make it inconvenient and a grueling task for the pilots to land the plane safely. The slick surface of the runway can cause friction or even reduce traction that can, in turn, lead to hydroplaning. Since landing distances required for a plane differ in the cases of wet or dry runways, planes might have a hard time landing on snow-covered surfaces, thus delaying landing times. Other snow-related issues like thunderstorms and blizzards can cause delays as well. Airlines typically wait for the runway to be cleared and the storm to calm before they can take-off and touch down safely.
Strong winds in winter
Though strong winds are not really a very big problem under normal circumstances and in good weather, they pose a big problem when clubbed with snow conditions. Strong winds cause visibility problems for pilots even in the most normal situations. When there is snow involved, it makes take-off, landing, and flying more difficult. Winter storm winds can lead to something called “bomb cyclones”. Such conditions might lead to turbulences that can result in flight delays.
Airline contracts known as “contracts of carriage,” mention specifically that they are not responsible to provide compensation for delays, caused due to acts of nature. It also includes some other reasons for delay, which are not in the hands of the airline. Passengers are also not eligible for accommodation if the delay is weather-related and lasts for more than a day. In the case of pending winter storm, some airlines let passengers change their travel schedule free, beforehand. If the flight is cancelled, then passengers are eligible for a refund on the portion of their ticket they have not yet used.