The return of Beast from the East and its impact on consumers

Snowbound Heathrow

UK law firm Bott and Co, has predicted that severe weather would cause thousands of cancellations and delays for passengers this winter.

According to the company, more than 700,000 passengers had their flights disrupted last winter. 4,613 flights scheduled to depart the UK were cancelled and 3,152 were delayed for more than two hours, with bad weather being a contributing factor.

At its apex, the storm saw two in five scheduled flights cancelled with 986 (34%) flights called off within 24 hours.

“Many people remain in the dark”

Cold snap

Now, the UK Met office has warned of heavy snowfall and strong winds in some parts of UK, which are expected to in impact flight schedules

Coby Benson, flight delay compensation solicitor at Bott and Co said: “With a cold snap around the corner, passengers flying should be prepared for delays and cancellations and know their rights under EU Regulation 261/2004, but many people remain in the dark.”

Throughout the course of last year’s ‘Beast from the East’, there were 3,294 cancelled flights and 1,547 flights delayed for more than two hours over an 11 day period. This accounts for more than half of the total amount of delays and cancellations for the full winter period.”

“Passengers could be owed compensation”

Benson went on to add: “It’s a common misconception that bad weather is always an extraordinary circumstance, which would stop the airlines having to pay compensation. However delays caused by weather conditions that are not considered ‘freakish’ or ‘wholly exceptional’ are indeed covered by the regulation and many passengers could be owed compensation.”

For cancelled flights with more than 14 days’ notice, passengers are entitled by law to a full refund of the cost they paid for the flight or a replacement flight or comparable transport arrangements at the earliest available opportunity. For flights cancelled within fourteen days of the departure, the same applies but passengers may also be eligible for compensation if the reason for the cancellation is not extraordinary.

If a flight is delayed two to four hours carriers  have a responsibility to provide customers with “adequate care and assistance”. This includes food and drink vouchers and two telephone calls and emails. Whereas passengers kept waiting overnight must be provided with accommodation, including transport to and from the airport.

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