All it takes is a few storms and some snow to send the UK into a flight cancellation and flight delay mode. Most people are used to that by now. In fact, some Brits can almost predict what’s going to happen. However, not all flight delays and cancellations occur as the result of bad weather.
There can be stranger and more bizarre factors involved. Here’s a look at some of the weirdest reasons why flights have been delayed in the past.
• Orange juice – Orange juice took the blame when a flight from Liverpool to Malaga was grounded. It is believed that a passenger accidentally spilled the juice, which led to an electrical short circuit.
• Food fight – People fighting over snacks on a plane isn’t too rare a sight. However, what’s rare is when the flight is forced to make an abrupt landing because of the flight. That’s what happened on a flight from Rome to Chicago. A passenger got irate with the steward for not serving biscuits and cheese.
• Helium balloons – We’ve all wanted to try that cartoon experiment involving helium balloons and floating. However, most of us decided not to for obvious reasons. But, Larry Walters wasn’t one of us. In 1982, he did exactly that with 45 helium balloons tied to his patio chair. He ended up in controlled airspace causing several delays at the Los Angeles International Airport.
• A broken toilet – A flight from Minnesota to Los Angeles had to make an emergency landing when a toilet broke. The smell was so bad that the passengers demanded the flight to make an abrupt landing.
• Animal out of control – Plenty of flights got delayed at the Manchester Airport in 2011 after a whippet which was supposed to be loaded onto an aircraft, got loose.
Your compensation rights
To file for compensation, you must actually know your rights.
To begin with, remember that all passengers are entitled to flight delay compensation. The only time you aren’t is when the delay has been caused due to “extraordinary circumstances”. An extraordinary circumstance here refers to situations that are beyond the control of airline and airport staff. This typically includes security threats such as a hijack or weather related issues.
Also, a compensation is due only if the delay has lasted longer than 3 hours or if the flight has been cancelled or if you don’t reach your destination within 2 hours of the ETA or if you’re not allowed to board because of overbooking and are delayed for over 3 hours because of this.
The rules are applicable to all flights that depart from an airport in the EU. EU airline operators are liable for both late arrivals and late departures.
All flights from one EU airport to another are protected, anyone flying from any EU airport to a destination outside the EU is covered, and if you are flying back, you are still covered – as long as you are with an EU airline.
A delayed long haul flight (3,500 km or more) will make you eligible for a compensation of 600 euros, while short-haul lights (below 1,500 km) make you eligible for a compensation of 125 Euros.