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Air traffic control failure results in hundreds of delays and more flights cancelled

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

On Sunday morning Paris airport, Charles de Gaulle, explained that there had been an incident of ‘national computer failure related to the centralisation of flight plans’.

Due to this failure that occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning, a great number of travellers experienced a high number of delays and cancellations.

The failure occurred on one of the busiest days in European aviation, particularly for everyone who was flying to or from a holiday destination.

Cancellations and delays across Europe

A great number of British travellers were unwillingly affected at airports such as London Gatwick, where clutters of traffic were caused.
Easyjet was hit the worst, grounding around 100 flights to and from Gatwick airport alone. Around 60 percent of Easyjet flights pass over French airspace. Other destinations affected included Amsterdam, Bilbao, Faro, Malaga or Venice.

Airlines apologise to delayed passengers

Statements were made on behalf of popular airlines of Easyjet, Ryanair and British Airways. Easyjet suggested that  “customers on cancelled flights will be given the option of transferring their flight free of charge or receiving a refund.”

A spokesperson on behalf of British Airways explained: “we're working hard to minimise the impact on our customers' travel plans, but we do expect disruption to services to France and Spain, as well as those which fly over these countries on the way to other destinations.”

Customers travelling by British Airways also received a text message a few hours after the first delays stating: “we would like to apologize for the delay to your British Airways flight”.

BA flight delay cancellation

Customers took it to social media to voice their complaints

Passengers complained through Twitter about the delays and cancellations, sometimes directly addressing the airline

Julzy76 posted: "Best service ever from #easyjet . 4 hours already in a queue after flight cancelled. No offer of water - nothing. 1 person on the desk!!!! Amazing service as usual."

Others were more disappointed of the fact that although they were allowed on the plane on time, they were forced to wait on the plane instead. On Twitter Lyndsay Crabtree posted:  "@Ryanair sitting on the tarmac at Malaga airport with 5 children and a heavily pregnant sister whose safe to fly is about to expire! Lied to by staff disgusting! Staff won’t even serve the kids a drink. It’s like being held hostage. Passengers should boycott!"

Problems with air traffic controllers: an extraordinary circumstance

Passengers affected by the issue with the French air traffic control's computer system will not be entitled to compensation under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004. As the document states, this is considered an extraordinary circumstance. In other words, an event that is beyond the airline's control. However, if you have suffered a flight delay or cancellation due to a problem under the responsibility of the airline, you may be entitled to compensation.

My flight was delayed or cancelled, can I claim and how?

Determine if you are eligible for claiming compensation with our free flight checker on our website. You can later decide to submit a claim and our team will assess the legal validity of your claim as soon as possible:

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