Thousands of passengers who have had their flights cancelled ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s full state funeral on Monday will not be entitled to compensation, says the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which has decided that the event should be classed as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.
Under regulations that the UK adopted after it left the European Union (EU), passengers on cancelled or heavily delayed flights can claim up to 600 euros in compensation if the airline is at fault for the disruption.
Throughout the years, the compensation rules have been tested in courts across Europe, and it is accepted that airlines don’t have to pay compensation in the event of an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.
Examples of what courts have determined to be extraordinary circumstances over the years include severe weather, security alerts and strike action by third-party companies that aren’t controlled by the airline.
Of course, there’s no such precedent for a royal funeral, but the CAA says that it is its view that the event would be considered an extraordinary circumstance. “As a result, we do not anticipate that compensation will be payable to consumers,” the agency said in a statement.
That determination doesn’t preclude passengers from seeking compensation from their airline or even appealing a rejected claim, but a court would likely heed the advice of the CAA.
British Airways has cancelled as many as 100 flights on Monday, 19th September and a slew of other flights operated by other airlines have also been axed due to air space restrictions that have been imposed for Her Majesty’s funeral.
Between 11:40 am and 12:10 pm, there will be no flight movements out of Heathrow in order to avoid disrupting a national moment of reflection that will be marked with a two minutes silence. Arriving flights will also be banned for 35 minutes starting at 1:45 pm.
Then, departures will be barred for 1 hour 40 minutes from 3:05 pm as the Queen’s coffin is transported by road to Windsor Castle. Flights will continue to be limited throughout Monday up until 9 pm.
The CAA says airlines must still offer a full refund or reroute options for passengers on flights that have been cancelled, and passengers on delayed services are entitled to food and drink, as well as hotel accommodation if flights are delayed overnight.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
The key words in your article are “if the airline is at fault”. I can think of no possible way you could classify any of this as being the fault of the airlines. Whether the government should step up and do something is a valid question but this is something that clearly falls under extraordinary.