a screenshot of a flight schedule

What’s an extraordinary circumstance? That’s the multi million dollar question, which has been asked and answered today in the most official terms. Travel delays due to extreme weather or “extraordinary circumstance” have long been ineligible for delay compensation, leaving travelers without any legal ground to stand on when things go wrong. But “extraordinary circumstance” is no longer considered valid – and it will impact compensation cases for millions of travelers.

a group of people in a terminalStaff Strikes Are Not Extraordinary

The European Court of Justice ruled today that “flash” staff strikes are not to be considered an extraordinary circumstance under law. This is a major positive development for travelers impacted by airline staff strikes, which were previously left uncovered. Under this new ruling, a passenger delayed for more than three hours to their final destination due to strikes of this nature would be entitled to compensation up to €600, in addition to transportation to their destination.

How It Works

If you have (or had) a flight which was delayed more than 3 hours on arrival (not departure) because of an airline strike, you can file an EC261 claim. You’ll need your flight info, date of travel and ideally, news links to the reason for your delay. File your claim directly with the airline, stating EC261 claim in the subject. If your claim is denied, you may need to consult an aviation governing body or use the help of AirHelp, Bott & Co or another leading delay compensation legal team. These claims are valid for flights to the European Union or UK on a European Union airline, or from the European Union or UK on any airline, even those from abroad.

Retroactive Claims Are Valid

Bott & Co, a leading law group processing claims on behalf of passengers struggling to get airlines to pay out, has said a single strike from August 2017 could be worth £25 million in back due claims alone. Needless to say, if you’ve been impacted, you may want to find those old itineraries and file a EU261 Compensation Claim. Strikes have been rampant across Europe, so there’s no telling how many millions of people may have been affected.

The New Precedent

This ruling, handed down in Germany, will serve as precedent in future cases. Though it’s possible a future judge could rule against passengers, this case was taken to the highest level and passengers won. For now, it will be the benchmark in deciding the validity of claims in the UK and European Union. Passengers win, for now.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. So to get this straight. Today’s AF ORD-CDG is cancelled due to strikes. If someone on this flight gets routed thru NYC and lands in CDG 5 hours late…they could request the compensation? Thanks!

  2. Insane. I hope then the airlines could sue the unions for damages, but I doubt it in the EU. Holding one group financially accountable for the actions of another group is just stupid. Look forward to more strikes if this stands.

  3. Wonderful news, and certainly a step in the right direction. Now if only the EU would act to stop the airlines from doing whatever possible to pay. Perhaps doubling the payment if not paid in 30 days from filing, along with some substantial penalty for not providing the customer with a printed list of their rights when delays occur.

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