Technical problems with your flight - how to claim compensation
Your flight has been delayed or cancelled and the airline has indicated that this was the result of a technical problem? Good news actually! According to European legislation, you are entitled to compensation. We will further explain here what you can do if your flight has been delayed or cancelled due to a technical issue with the aircraft.
If you immediately want to discover how much you can claim in compensation due to the disruption of your flight, you can use our free claim calculator and find out in just a couple of seconds. You can then decide if you want Flight-Delayed to take over your claim and ensure that you receive what you’re owed. Even if it means suing the airline.
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As you can imagine, when it comes to big flying complex machines many issues may arise. All the instruments that make flying possible may need repairs or maintenance, in other occasions they just simply need to be replaced. Technical problems tend to be caused by parts of the aircraft wearing down. Rest assured, however, because if these planes are ready to take off with passengers on board, everything is fine. The industry operates with the highest standards of safety in place and that is why so many technical issues occur. If something is not working 100% as it should, chances are it will be replaced or receive maintenance. It’s this high level of strictness that makes aviation the safest method of transportation in the world.
Nonetheless, a small technical problem can always disrupt the smooth running of your flight. Whether it’s a small issue caused by weather or a delay in the maintenance of the aircraft, there are various issues that can cause your flight to be delayed or cancelled. We have compiled the most commonly reported technical problems by airlines and here’s the list:
- Landing gear problems (opening or closing issues)
- Kerosene leakage
- Smoke in the cabin
- Wheel change needed
- Braking problem
- Engine failure
- Electrical problem (e.g. air conditioning failure)
- Hydraulic problem
- Cabin pressurization problem
- Tail strike problem (the tail of the aircraft touches the ground on take-off)
- Hard landing (requires technical check)
- Flap problem
Some airlines do not hesitate to send the exact same email to passengers who submit complaints to them. They always mention the same technical problem or the same maintenance difficulties. It is important to specify that aircraft maintenance is the responsibility of the airline company and therefore, in case of a flight delay or cancellation, you are entitled to compensation.
Of course, some technical problems can be caused by external factors. Several circumstances can thus affect your flight, or even prompt its cancellation. We have listed the most common for you:
- Collision with a bird or "birdstrike" (may even be stuck in the engine)
- Lightning strike
- A hidden defect on the aircraft (issues with the aircraft model that were not known to the airline)
All the problems are considered an extraordinary circumstance. It means that the airline had no power over them and they couldn’t have been avoided even if all appropriate measures were taken. Make sure you verify such statements on these matters, as airlines frequently overuse the argument of exceptional circumstances to simply avoid compensating you. If you are not sure about the truth regarding the technical problem that affected your flight, you can let our team, here at Flight-Delayed, check this for you and proceed to claim the compensation you are entitled to, learn more on how it works and your rights as a passenger.
Are all technical problems extraordinary circumstances?
No, factually, most technical problems are not considered extraordinary circumstances as they are all part of the regular daily operations of airlines. Aircraft have strict maintenance schedules and airlines should keep them in the best condition possible. Often enough, even when complying with the maintenance of their aeroplanes, these issues arise. Notwithstanding, airlines should also take into account the unpredictability of these problems and adapt to fulfil their contractual obligations to passengers. Another solution for them would be to adjust their schedules
In case of a flight delay or cancellation due to a technical problem, you are entitled to receive compensation in accordance with Regulation (EC) 261 2004. This regulation establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boardings and flight cancellations or long delays.
Firstly, your flight must be covered by the regulation for you to claim compensation. Your flight will be covered if you were departing from an airport in the EU or the UK or if you were flying with a European airline. A carrier is considered to be European if their headquarters are located in the EU or the UK. We will now explain the rights that you have as an air passegner if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
The right to care and assistance during flight delays and cancellations
All airlines are obliged to ensure their passengers are taken care of if a delay or cancellation will result in the passengers having to endure a waiting time of 2 hours or more. The appropriate care must include, as per the regulation, the following elements:
- Meals and refreshments
- Two means of communication (phone calls or emails)
- Overnight hotel accommodations if necessary
- Transportation from the airport to the hotel and vice versa
- Transportation back to your point of origin if necessary
Don’t forget that you may very well be entitled to compensation if you end up arriving at your final destination with a delay greater than 3 hours.
Different criteria apply for flight delays and cancellations. When it regards delays, two things are important. You must have taken the delayed flight and you must have arrived at your final destination with a delay greater than 3 hours. If this has been the case, then you have the right to claim compensation under Regulation EC 261/2004.
The airline will be obliged to compensate you for the loss of time and for bein unable to operate the scheduled flight as per their contract of carriage. They are still allowed to argue that the cause for the delay has been an extraordinary circumstance. However, as mentioned above, technical issues normally do not constitute as extraordinary events.
If your flight has been cancelled, then it becomes a little bit more complicated. When you were infomed of the cancellation and if the airline has been capable of replacing your flight wiht a suitable alternative will determine if must be compensated. As well as the total time you’ve lost due to the disruption.
If you were informed more than 14 days before your departure, you are not entitled to compensation
If the airline informed you of the cancellation of your flight between 7 and 14 days in advance and they have managed to book you on an alternative or replacement flight that does not depart 2 hours earlier than scheduled and does not alater than 4 hours after your original scheduled time, then they are not obliged to pay you compensation. In other words, to claim compensation, you would have to arrive +4 hours late or leave 2+ hours earlier than planned in your itinerary.
If you were informed of the cancellation no earlier than 7 days before the departure date, you are entitled to compensation if you arrived at least 2 hours later than planned (this is the most common case).
Cancelled itineraries tend to be quite complicated. When submitting your claim with Flight-Delayed, our team will analyse the circumstances and make sure that you receive what you are entitled to. If, during our revision, our team discovers that you are not entitled to be compensated, we will close your claim free of charge.
You can check your flight for free with our claim calculator and you’ll immediately find out if your flight is covered by the regulation and how much you can claim in compensation.
How long do I have to claim compensation according to EC 261/2004?
The regulation itself does not determine the statute of limitations for claiming your compensation. That responsibility falls under the relevant authorities of each country. In the UK, that is the Civil Aviation Authority and the timeframe is 6 years after the date of your disrupted flight. It varies from country to country so make sure that you’ve checked your flight before you leave.
How much can I receive in compensation?
The total amount you may receive in compensation is defined by the flight’s itinerary and the distance between the airport of departure and arrival. Connecting flights are taken into account when assessing your situation. In other words, your whole booking is covered by the regulation. Consequently, it’s the distance between your initial airport of departure and your final destination what will determine the total amount of money that you may receive in compensation for your delayed, overbooked or cancelled flight. Connecting flights are covered as long as they have been booked under the same reference. Put differently, if they are part of the same ticket or itinerary.
For all flights covering a distance of up to 1,500 kilometres, you will receive up to £220
For all flights covering a distance between 1,500 kilometres and 3,500 kilometres, you will receive up to £350
For flights covering a distance greater than 3,500 kilometres, you are entitled to up to £530
Please remember that if your flight travelled a distance greater than 3,500 kilometres and it was delayed more than 3 hours but fewer than 4, then the total amount of compensation is reduced by 50%. The regulation defines the total amounts in euros and they are €250, €400 and €600.
If your claim has already been rejected by the airline and they have argued that a technical issue has caused your disruption, you can still submit your claim and our team will verify and fact-check the airline’s arguments. Very often, they assess the situation wrongly and reject perfectly valid claims; so don’t give up that easily and don’t worry, we’re here to help you!
Airlines tend to brush off claims easily without providing enough evidence and information. We are here to help passengers with that problem. We will even take the airline to court if necessary.
How does it work when Flight-Delayed takes care of everything?
If you choose to submit your claim with Flight-Delayed, we’ll ensure that you go through the process as swiftly and smoothly as possible, all while ensuring that you won’t be fobbed off by the airline. If court action is needed, we’ll determine which is the easiest path for you to be awarded compensation and one of our solicitors, we cover more than 8 different European countries, will proceed to sue the airline. We provide our service under a no win, no fee agreement, that means that we’ll take on all the risk and you’ll only have to pay our win fee if our actions lead to a successful outcome. In other words, once you’ve gotten paid by the airline.
Best of all is that our win-fee covers all possible costs associated with claiming your compensation. Including legal and court fees as well as all administrative costs and VAT. Don't wait any longer, exrcise your rights!