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Bizarre reasons for flight delays

Bizarre reasons for flight delays

The average airline passenger probably assumes that flight delays are caused by weather problems, technical problems or organisational errors such as there being too many planes on a runway. However, this is not always the case, as a study of UK flight delays conducted by revealed earlier this month. The reason why your flight time is pushed back by hours or, in the most extreme cases, days could be much more surprising.

Some of the delays had seemingly innocuous origins. For example, a passenger boarding an Easyjet flight to Malaga, Spain, from Liverpool John Lennon Airport accidentally spilled a glass of orange juice which in turn caused an electrical fault in the plane. The plane was deemed unfit to fly, leading one irate passenger to claim for compensation. The case eventually went to court, whereupon the odd reason for the delay was revealed in full. In the end, the passenger was awarded £345 in compensation for the delay.

Another case, this time from 2013, saw a Jet2 plane due to fly from Turkey’s Milas airport to Manchester, England, delayed by a total of 24 hours. The reason? The plane had spent too long in the blazing sun on the runway. Understandably, the airline was concerned first and foremost with its passengers’ welfare, but the reason still sounds a little strange. A disgruntled passenger who was unhappy with the 24-hour delay was awarded £400 in compensation.

A further example from the study revealed that a jet was grounded for five hours at Luton Airport in England because, as it was landing, a pesky bat flew into the aircraft. An engineer had to be flown in specially from France’s Montpellier-Mediterranean airport in order to inspect the plane for safety defects.

The most extreme example of the delays surveyed in this particular study came from an Iceland Air flight scheduled to fly in August 2016. To begin with, the unlucky aircraft ran out of fuel and it was then struck by lightning. Passengers on their way from London Gatwick to Denver, Colorado, were finally able to board the vessel when the cabin crew announced that their shifts were over and so they were going home. This final insult led to a delay totalling 29 hours.

One unlucky Air India flier was justifiably awarded £472 when their flight, on New Year’s Eve 2015, was unacceptable for a number of reasons. The jet was initially delayed at London’s Heathrow airport due to issues with the cabin crew. Once this hurdle had been navigated, a fresh problem with the aircraft’s engine delayed the flight further. Once finally aboard the plane and in flight, the passenger was appalled by the state of the bathroom, which they described as ‘stinky’ and ‘fly-ridden’.

However, amongst all of the thousands of reasons for delays looked at by the study, the thing that airline passengers might find the most surprising is the very fact that they can claim compensation at all. As long as your flight took off or landed in an EU airport within the last six years, and was delayed by at least three hours, you have a case to claim compensation. So if an inconvenient flight cancellation or delay is imposed upon you by an airline, it may pay to take the time to check whether you are eligible for compensation. At Flights Compensation International, we can help you claim for a delay that was out of your hands – no matter how bizarre the reason.


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