Complex Made Simple

Weather not to blame for flight delays?

If you have just been told that your flight has been delayed or cancelled, we can almost guarantee that it is because one of these reasons – airline negligence, technical issue or weather conditions.

Even though there is a common misconception that the latter is the most popular cause of flight disruption, according to the US department of transportation, only 30 per cent of all delays are caused by weather. As the experts explain – the misconception is mostly formed by the manipulations of the airline.

Weather conditions in aviation is one of the most important factors – the aircraft can slide of the runway due to strong lateral winds; maintaining a necessary take-off speed may be impossible due to heavy rain, while blistering cold may not be the environment in which all aircraft systems perform the best.

In total, according to the stats, weather conditions are the third most popular (13 per cent) cause of aviation incidents after human error (56 per cent) and technical issues (17 per cent).

Up in the air

Although hundreds of flights are delayed or cancelled around the world due to weather conditions, industry specialists note that airlines often play this sensitive card to try and divert the responsibility for the delayed or cancelled flight.

“In reality, 50 per cent of all flights arriving late to their destination are late due to airline fault – ineffective work by employees, delays, inefficient fuelling schedule and similar reasons. Nevertheless, if there’s even a slightest possible reason (rain or snow outside), airline employees will jump to conclusion that the delay or cancellation is due to weather conditions right away, aiming to avoid paying out a proper compensation to the stranded passengers,” says Marius Stonkus, CEO of SKYCOP, a Republic of Lithuania company that offers flight refunds claim services.

According to the figures from SKYCOP, every month, an average of 30,000 flights across the globe are cancelled.

No compensation

Out of 850 million Europeans, it says, one in ten has experienced delay or cancellation, with only five per cent or so receiving full compensation. In total, this amounts to whopping eight million flyers in the EU alone who have  been left without adequate compensation.

“Our aim is to stand up for the airline passengers and we are prepared to get our claws out to get what rightfully belongs to those deprived of their valuable time, money and dignity. Educating the innocent flyers that it is actually never ‘ok’ to cancel or delay a flight without any legitimate reason is our top priority in restoring the justice between airlines and flyers,” Stonkus says.

“We receive numerous claims from the deceived passengers – there are special systems in place to check if the flight conditions really were the main cause of the incident,” he adds.