What are extraordinary circumstances?

There are some cases in which we cannot accept claims that are submitted via aviclaim.com. For example, these may be cases in which the delay was too short, the flight was operated by a non-European airline or cases in which there were extraordinary circumstances.

But what are exactly extraordinary circumstances? And when is a heavy thunderstorm or hard wind really a reason to slow down or even cancel a flight? The national supervisors who oversee compliance with the Regulation have created a list in 2013 with the most common exceptional circumstances. However, it always depends on the particular circumstance in each case that may entitle or not entitle you to compensation. For example, there is obviously a difference between a collision with a small bird and a whole swarm.

Furthermore, it is important that an extraordinary circumstance meets three criteria, namely: unpredictable (unexpected), unavoidable and from external factors.


Extraordinary circumstances have to meet three criteria: unpredictable (unexpected), unavoidable, from external factors


An example: The attempted coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016 has resulted in a lot of delayed and canceled flights. Can we say that this was an extraordinary circumstance? This event was unpredictable, unavoidable and came from external factors. So yes, there is an extraordinary circumstance and the airline cannot do anything about it. To file a claim for flights around these days, where it was very uneasy and politically unstable in Turkey, makes no sense. It would not have made sense to file claims for flights around those days because the situation was politically unstable in Turkey.

An airline must always prove that there were extraordinary circumstances and why this caused a flight problem such as a severe delay or cancellation. In addition, the air carrier must explain what actions they have taken to prevent the flight problem. If they cannot, then there is a real chance that a judge does not accept their justification.

The entire list of circumstances where you (usually) are not entitled to compensation, can be found here.

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