As we approach the holiday travel season, flight delays due to weather will become more common as winter storms roll in. Unlike mechanical, technical, or staffing delays, weather delays are deemed “out of the airline's control” and therefore relinquish the airline from the responsibility to cover expenses incurred by the passenger.
If the delay causes a missed connection, the costs for meals in the airport and overnight accommodations now fall to the traveler. Recently some airlines have suffered from network failures leaving planes, passengers, and crews displaced around the country, which in turn lead to massive delays and cancellations. These failures are due, in large part, to staffing issues caused by the pandemic or by computer software malfunctions. However, some airlines still placed at least partial blame on the weather, to avoid spending millions of dollars on passenger expenses. So how do you know when a weather delay really is just, well, a delay caused by the weather?
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More often than weather , delays are due to mechanical conditions that make the aircraft unsafe to fly.
First answer on here…I work as an air traffic controller at a major east coast facility and am a certified IFR pilot, so I can absolutely answer this for you. First of all, thunderstorms around airports are extremely dangerous, no matter how big your airplane is. Look up Delta flight 191, and see what a microburst from a thunderstorm did to an L-1011, which was one of the largest aircraft flying at the time.
Imagine your flight was delayed due to a previous flight disrupted or cancelled as a result of bad weather . In the case of such knock-on effects (when an earlier delay affects a later flight ), the air carriers may find it difficult to prove they have taken all reasonable measures.
Wind and rain are other typical winter conditions in the UK and Europe in general. Therefore, they should not be sufficient grounds for your flight to be delayed or cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. However, if the wind is so strong that Air Traffic Control decides to limit the number of flights , then it could constitute
On a recent trip from Seattle to Washington, D.C., with a scheduled connection in Chicago, I received a text message from the airline while en route to the airport stating that the first leg of my flight, from Seattle to Chicago, was departing 30 minutes late due to the aircraft leaving Denver behind schedule following a mechanical issue that required repairs. I thought nothing of it—a half hour wasn't going to cause me any headaches. I had used the airline's app and clicked the option to “track the inbound aircraft,” and it quickly loaded the flight from Denver to Seattle with a description of the mechanical issue they encountered. I took a screenshot. Why? I'm not really sure. But if you find yourself in that situation, I suggest you do too. Once my flight finally took off, about an hour and a half behind schedule, the pilot made an announcement apologizing for the late departure, and explained the mechanical issue that had needed to be repaired. However, it quickly became clear that I and many passengers on my flight were going to miss our connections. I was fairly confident we would be offered overnight accommodations since this was a mechanical delay. I was wrong.
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For flights delayed by more than 3 hours, cancellations or denied boarding? The European Regulation allocates different amounts of compensation depending on the distance of the flight : If the flight distance is up to less than 1500km, the value of the compensation is €250 for a delayed , or
When an aircraft’s take-off is delayed or cancelled due to bad weather , this is presumably because the conditions are such that it is deemed as unsafe to fly. If this is the case then of course it makes sense for the airlines to postpone flights until a suitable time arises. But, the airlines have been known to
How common are flight delays ? We are used to airports running like clockwork - schedules, rules, screening, it’s all numbers and tech, all measured and well-controlled. But if you stop for a minute to think about how complex flying really is, you’ll be amazed that about 80% of flights actually depart on time.
Mind that flights are delayed due to weather both at departure, en route or at arrival. No plane would take off if the weather at the destination point is prohibitive and the pilot will have to circle around, burning fuel and waiting for the skies to clear up.
Conveniently for the airline, while we were en route to Chicago the reason for our flight delay was changed. The app no longer showed the mechanical reason, but now showed a delay due to weather in and around Chicago. Once I deplaned I made my way over to the customer service center. I explained to an airline representative that it was impossible for our flight to be late due to weather. I was swiftly told, “This is what the computer says. Airport management in Chicago has stated you're late due to the weather here so I cannot offer you a hotel or a meal.”
I opened my text messages and showed her the original communication I had received, then opened the screenshot I took showing the delay. She agreed that the information showed a different story. The airline was using the weather around Chicago as a means to avoid paying passenger expenses for most, if not all, of the late-arriving flights that evening. However, the representative asked me to contact the airline with the information I provided to her and a copy of the receipts for my expenses and request a refund. Although airport management coded the delay as weather, corporate may not agree.
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Flight Delays – The Facts and Figures. When is a flight delay actually a flight delay ? When it is delayed by more than 15 minutes, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Other wintry weather conditions such as fog and wind could also be both eligible for flight compensation or an extraordinary circumstance, depending on the severity and how it affects the operation of the airports in question. If the fog or wind is so bad that air traffic control at the arrival or departure airport have to reduce the number of flights coming in or out, or even close the airport completely, then this would
She was right. After spending the night in a cheap last-minute airport hotel, I departed the next morning for Washington, D.C., and filed for a refund of my expenses with the airline. It was approved, proving my flight was not weather delayed.
It's important to note, however, that weather delays aren't always “miscoded” and can still occur even though it's a clear day outside the windows of the airport terminal. For example, although you're waiting in sunny Los Angeles for a flight to New York, the plane coming in from rainy and foggy San Francisco can arrive late. The airline will describe the Los Angeles to New York flight as weather delayed. Let’s say that aircraft arrives in New York, and it's also scheduled to fly from New York to Chicago—now that segment is also weather delayed. Of course, if you take a glimpse out the terminal windows and you spot three feet of snow covering the runway, a severe thunderstorm, or flashes of lightning, you can be almost certain your late departure is due to mother nature.
Simple sleuthing can easily verify the weather that’s impacting an aircraft. If an airline doesn't allow for tracking of an inbound aircraft, there are many apps and services now available to display the route and flight status. Then, by visiting the Federal Aviation Administration's flight delay website, fly.faa.gov, users can see the country's largest airports and their current conditions. If everything is operating smoothly, the airport is displayed in green, and if things are running behind you may see it displayed in yellow or red along with the reason for arrival and/or departure delays. Generally, flight delays imposed by the airport or FAA are due to weather, and the FAA also posts the estimated time impact on flights in or out of that airport.
The weather may be the whole cause of a delay, but it may also just be one factor in a series of issues that result in a late departure or arrival. The airline will always say a tardy flight was due to “weather” when the opportunity presents itself because it saves them money. But armed with information, screenshots, text messages, and receipts that describe a different story, travelers can seek compensation through the airline's website when a dark cloud of bad luck causes them to get stuck or stranded.