We all wish that each flight disruption was compensated. However, that’s not the case – exceptions exist. Many of those deal with force majeure events, like natural disasters. So here are some of the biggest natural disasters that have disrupted flights.
Snow being an impediment to aviation is not a new thing. This was a problem for Allied air support during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, it’s a problem for your Christmas plans these days. On February 2007, a plane in New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport was stuck for eight hours – and so were the passengers, that were not let off it.
That’s nothing – in 1999, about 7000 passengers on Northwest Airline stuck on their planes in Detroit. Some were trapped for up to 10 hours. This resulted in the airline being forced to pay $7.1 million in compensation and Congress introducing the Air Passenger Bill of Right. Snow is still causing trouble today, as Europeans who experienced the disruptions this January can attest… oh, and the fact that a snowstorm this February led to over 2300 flights getting cancelled in the US.
Typhoons are rare in Europe, we mostly get strong winds. Of course, that didn’t stop Ryanair from stranding passengers on a Stansted – Porto flight for 11 hours back in 2014. Other countries in the world aren’t so lucky.
When typhoon Tapah approached Japan at the end of September this year, 412 domestic flights were cancelled in the country. In Korea, 359 flights were cancelled. And when super typhoon Hagibis crashed into Japan this week, airlines across the islands cancelled their services. Typhoons are no joke!
Earthquakes usually lack the sustained effect to cause really long and wide-spread flight cancellations, but they do happen from time to time. Probably the most recent happened on October 17, when a 6.5 scale earthquake forced a 24-hour suspension of service in the Clark International Airport in the Philippines. It had been previously hit in April, which stranded 150,000 travellers.
Airports are usually affected by the disruption of their infrastructure. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused the San Jose International Airport, Oakland International Airport and San Francisco International close for the day. Cracks in tarmac shortened runways and taxiways in Oakland to ⅔ the length!
Now, you don’t have to argue that a volcano eruption is a natural disaster. Anyone who didn’t get the memo after Pompei was updated when Krakatau exploded sky-high in 1883. These days, most volcanoes just spew ash and disrupt flight travel for days. In may, Mount Agung disrupted flights around Bali. This week, Mount Etna has been messing with flights in the Mediterranean.
Oh, and we should not forget the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010, which closed the airspace in several European countries. According to Eurocontrol, 104,000 flights were cancelled in the week between April 15 and April 22. Just in Britain, about a million of passengers experienced flight disruptions.
Disasters are hard to predict, so you’ll never know when your flight will be disrupted. However, if your flight was delayed or cancelled due to something the airline did or didn’t do, claim flight compensation via Skycop! You stand to gain up €600!