Extraordinary Circumstances: Flight Delayed Due to Heist

On April 9, an Austrian Airlines plane was delayed on the ground due to an armed heist.

The incident took place at the Tirana Airport  (Albania), several gunmen, armed with automatic weapons, approached an Austrian Airlines Airbus A320-214. They ordered the ground crew to lay down on the ground and stole a shipment of money valued at least at €2 million (and possibly up to €10 million). One of the gunmen was shot in the ensuing chase. The flight was delayed and took off 3 hours late.

In the unlikely event that your flight ever gets delayed by a heist, know that you have all the usual rights granted to them under Regulation (EC) 261/2004. For delays lasting more than two hours, the airline has to provide you with free meals and drinks. You should also be allowed to make two free calls, use email or send a free fax. If you have to wait for the flight for one or more nights, the carrier has to provide you with free accommodation at a hotel, including transport to/from the airport. In case they’re unable/unwilling to do this, save the receipts: all “rational” expenses (no VIP penthouses, caviar or limos) should be refunded afterward.

However, the flight delay happened due to no fault of the airline, and the criminals are at fault. And just like flight disruptions due to military actions, this is one of the exceptional circumstances as defined by (EC) 261/2004 – which means you can’t claim disrupted flight compensation! Other rules still apply, so the airlines should still take care of you.

 

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