Aeroplanes have approximately 6 million working parts, which essentially means 6 million chances for something to go wrong. The intricate mechanisms within the engine of an aircraft along with the mechanics that enable it to take-off, fly hundreds of miles at 35,000 feet and then land safely makes it one complex piece of machinery. Airlines by law have to conduct stringent checks before each flight in order to prevent anything from going wrong. As the last thing that they want is a Flight Cancelled due to Mechanical Failure. However, mechanical failures are not uncommon. They are to be expected in the running of an airline company, no matter how new or how tested an aeroplane may be.
Take the Boeing 787 Dream liner for example that caught fire at London Heathrow Airport on 12th July 2013 due to what was thought to be faulty batteries. Mechanical problems can range from electrical faults, fuel leakages, faulty batteries and engine failure. All of which would force the aircraft to be grounded until a full investigation could be made. If an investigation then leads to a flight becoming delayed more than 3 hours then passengers could be entitled to claim Flight Delay Compensation. Or if a mechanical failure occurs during a flight causing the flight to be diverted or grounded then a passenger could be entitled to Mechanical Flight Delay Compensation.
However, airlines are often reluctant to pay out compensation to passengers and avoid sending over any maintenance logs that show all of the details concerning any mechanical failures. This means that it is difficult to prove that a delay has been due to a mechanical fault. Airlines are very good at making the Delays and Flight Compensation process very difficult. They generally send a basic email hiding behind various mechanical defects or try and push the blame onto something else, often saying that the part must have been damaged during the incoming flight. However, if a part is faulty due to the fact that it hadn’t been changed in 4 years when the guidelines clearly state that it should be changed every six months then the airline is liable to pay Mechanical Flight Delay Compensation.
Airlines are not expected to pay any compensation if during a flight the aircraft is subject to an extraordinary circumstance. For example if a bird hits the windscreen or damages the engine during a flight which leads to an emergency landing then this would be classified as an extraordinary circumstance. These occurrences are extremely rare and are fluke accidents. There are very few extraordinary circumstances that could cause a mechanical failure. Extreme weather conditions fall into this category, but air trafficking systems are now so technically advanced at detecting extreme weather along intended flight paths that they are able to diverted flights if an aircraft is at risk of damage. Despite the rules becoming significantly clearer when it comes to Delayed Flight Compensation, some airlines are still trying to twist them.