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What causes flight cancellations? – We’ve got your back!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. When that happens, the travel world can be challenging. This needs to change, because people have the right to get support, and to be treated with respect. No worries, we are here to help!

Welcome back to our blog series: We’ve got your back! Here we will answer very common questions that we have been asked frequently by our customers.  If you have any questions you'd like us to answer directly or in a blog post, do not wait a second longer and send us an email to We'll get back to you ASAP!

what causes flight cancellations?

Hi Hanneke, I’ve always wondered what causes flight cancellations?

Hello! Thanks for reaching out. Flight cancellations are a very interesting phenomenon. Sometimes, they are not that easy to comprehend. Or at least, not as easy to understand as delays. When a delay occurs, you can assume that it’s just a minor issue that has to be dealt with. When it involves a cancellation, then the reason why the flight won’t be operated at all can be a bit more intricate.

So, what makes it so hard to operate a flight that it ends up being cancelled instead?

There are many different reasons why a flight might get cancelled, but here are the most common:

  • A technical issue with the aircraft. That means that the plane itself is unable to fly or it is unsafe to do so.
  • Operational problem within the airline. An issue may occur concerning the airline’s operations. For example, when the crew or pilots have exceeded their working hours and there are no replacements available.
  • Weather conditions too extreme. This is not the easiest situation to assess, especially because you have to consider both the airport of departure and of arrival when trying to figure out if a flight was cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. If the weather conditions are not that bad, but they will limit the capabilities of an airport, a flight will probably only be delayed.
  • Air traffic or Air Traffic Control Restrictions. Take off and landing slots must be managed adequately and very often the Air Traffic Control may take actions that result in airlines losing their spots in the queue. In some airports, this may even result in the flight being cancelled altogether.
  • A threat to the wellbeing of the passengers. This is can be any risk that may arise from different causes. From an unruly passenger to a bigger threat to the airport or airline.

There are more events that would merit a flight’s cancellation, but are not as frequent as the ones mentioned above. If you have any other question regarding the topic, send us an e-mail to and we’ll answer it as soon as we can.

Although a flight cancellation may be very frustrating, there is always a valid reason to cancel a flight. For example, choosing not to operate a faulty airplane. However, all the valid reasons that fall under the operational responsibility of the airline will give you the right to be compensated. If the cause of your delay cannot be considered and extraordinary circumstance, you could be owed up to £535.00 in compensation!

If you’ve ever experienced a flight cancellation and you are not sure if you are entitled to compensation, we are here to help! You can check your flight with our flight calculator and you’ll find out in seconds.

Claim my compensation

Best of all, our 25% win fee will only apply if we’ve succeeded with claiming your compensation.

Hanneke is one of the team members at She is responsible for assessing the validity of claims according to the implementation of Regulation EC 261/2004 and also takes part in corroborating the arguments provided by the airlines.

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