After unexpected snowfall hit the UK on Wednesday, December 27th, hundreds of passengers at Stansted airport were stranded overnight due to cancelled or delayed flights. According to the BBC, the runway was shut twice to clear snow and ice.
The airport experienced most flight delays and cancellations from easyJet and Ryanair, forcing travellers to wait into the early hours of Thursday morning just to re-book flights or for their baggage to be returned to them.
Stansted airport issued a warning on Twitter, stating “Passengers who do not have a confirmed booking for a flight today, or if their flight has been cancelled, are asked not to travel to the Airport.” For people already at the airport, lack of communication from the airlines was what caused confusion and distress among passengers. Furious travellers also turned to Twitter to express their frustration, stating delay times of anything between 3 and 13 hours:
Snow on the walkway at #Stansted but looking good for take-off. Only 13 hours after we were supposed to leave and to a different airport to the one we were supposed to fly to pic.twitter.com/R4IuOQQSFi
— Ivor Bennett (@IvorBennett) December 28, 2017
Cancellations and delays caused by bad weather often bring chaos to travel terminals in the UK. However, airlines are known to play the weather card and hide the real reasons behind disrupted flights. Bad weather and technical issues in EU law are referred to as “extraordinary circumstances” which exempt carriers from liability to air passenger rights and disrupted flight compensations.
As Marius Stonkus, the CEO of flight delay compensation company SKYCOP explains, there are special systems in place to check if the flight conditions really were the main cause of the incident. “Hence, our team of professionals suggest passengers to always check the real reasons behind their cancelled or delayed flights against what the airline states.”
“Extraordinary circumstances are clearly defined in the EU Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, thus, we are able to confirm if the statements provided by companies like easyJet and Ryanair are completely honest. Our information shows that the weather conditions during the day of 28th of December, including visibility and wind velocity, were favourable for air travel. Affected passengers can easily check if they are eligible for compensation on our website www.skycop.com”, comments Marius Stonkus, the CEO of flight compensation company SKYCOP.
In a case of delay, EU law ensures passengers are entitled to compensation if their flight was late for more than 3 hours. If their flight was cancelled less than 14 days prior the flight – they can get up to €600.