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Flights cancelled at Gatwick due to overflying drones. Are you entitled to compensation?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Today, 20 Dec. 18, flights have been suspended for safety reasons because two drones were spotted overflying Gatwick Airport’s runway. Flights were suspended at least until 11 am Thursday and the disruptions caused will have a knock-on effect of at least 24 hours.

Can I claim compensation if my flight has been delayed or cancelled due to drone activity at Gatwick Airport?

Passengers are not entitled to compensation if their flights have been delayed or cancelled due to this situation. Passengers will not be compensated for their disruptions since the security threat posed by these drones is considered an extraordinary circumstance and, furthermore, it is not considered to be a situation under the airline’s sphere of responsibility.

When will flights resume at Gatwick Airport?

Policemen were having trouble taking down the drones and therefore, at the time of publishing, haven’t cleared the airport for safe operations. Activity is expected to resume in the next 12 hours.

What are the consequences of these disruptions?

Gatwick’s chief operating officer, Chris Woodroofe, apologised to the passengers and told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “last night there were 10,000 people disrupted,”. The drone operators could face up to five years in prison if the police find them.

The knock-on effect of this specific event will be felt all over Europe. Sofia the pilot’s post on Instagram exemplifies how problems at one airport can affect schedules all over the continent it was captioned:

When Gatwick closes due to drones in the air, me and my Captain are scheduled to fly an empty aircraft to London because this aircraft got stuck here in Stockholm last night when the drone activity started at Gatwick yesterday evening... With new drones appearing this morning everyone have diverted and there are still flights diverting all over the place to other airports. It’s chaos! We have now been waiting for 4h in the aircraft with our SLOT time only getting worse.... New SLOT is 4h from now... Not a very nice day for all the passengers, the working staff or for the airlines! (This is why we do not like drones!)

However, if your flight has been delayed or cancelled and it has been because of a problem under the airline’s responsibility, you may be entitled to compensation. If you’re not sure if your flight applies, you can check it for free with our claim calculator:

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