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My brother was returning from Prague to Bristol (where he works) on October 5, 2017, but his flight (with easyJet) was cancelled due to bad weather. He was offered a flight the next day in the morning, but that flight was to London, so he had to pay for a train from London to Bristol. I advised him to send a compensation claim, and this is part of the answer he received from easyJet:

To further explain what happened on the day; on the 5th October there were storms and gusting winds across Northern Europe which caused substantial delays as air traffic control restrictions were put in place to deal with the situation. These restrictions had a knock on effect and intensified during the day as aircraft were waiting for take-off and landing slots. Ultimately the delays pushed our crew out of their maximum legal operating hours to complete your fight. There are strict industry wide rules on the number of hours our crew is allowed to work. To protect the safety of our customers and crew these cannot be exceeded so we had no alternative but to cancel your flight.

We do take reasonable measures to avoid delays and cancellations by having replacement crews and spare aircraft in our network. However on 5th October 2017 there were higher than expected levels of disruption across our network and therefore these replacement crews and spare aircraft had been deployed by the time of your flight.

So basically they refused to compensate him - he was only offered a refund for the train he had to take from London to Bristol (which is also written in the mail).

I know bad weather is one of the extraordinary circumstances outside of flight company control and therefore, under EU regulation 261/2004, my brother is not eligible for compensation.

The problem is, that although the weather was bad that day, I think it wasn't the immediate problem for this flight - even easyJet says in the email that the reason is a lack of replacement crew, due to earlier problems.

I also checked other flights from Prague to UK and they have departed without any problems - look for example at this one: https://jakubm.com/flights/324229230 - it's an easyJet flight from Prague to London, which departed at 23:03 (scheduled at 21:55). And this is my brother's flight - https://jakubm.com/flights/324220100 - it was scheduled at the same time, but was cancelled instead of being delayed, like the other one.

There are other flights that left earlier that day:

17:15 - https://jakubm.com/flights/324271710

17:00 - https://jakubm.com/flights/324208900

19:40 - https://jakubm.com/flights/324633710

So my question is, is he really not eligible for compensation, even though different flights from the Czech Republic to the UK from easyJet departed, but this one was cancelled due to shortage of crew, caused by bad weather that day?

Also, in the mail he received, they advised him that if wants to challenge their decision, he should use https://www.cedr.com/aviation/ which is their ADR supplier- however, they charge a fee of 25 pounds if the claim is 100% unsuccessful - does easyJet have the right to deny further discussion about this issue and redirect my brother to CEDR?

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    I think that after reading this a summary could be: Due to weather conditions ATC imposed restrictions on flights that caused easyJet run into scheduling issues and restrictions on flight crew work durations. The end result was your brother spending an extra night in Prague and being compensated for the train ticket price from Bristol to London. Is he due more compensation (as easyJet could have better foreseen the situation)?. Is this a fair summary? And was your brother compensated for his extra night in Prague? – Peter M Jan 4 '18 at 12:39
  • Yes, that is a fair summary. He wasnt compensated fo extra night in Prague, since he slept at my parents, whose flat is nearby Prague. – JakubJ Jan 4 '18 at 12:47
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    I think your brother might have missed out on a free hotel room and meals and incidentals in Prague, but I doubt that he claim that now. However unfortunately I have no clue of your basic compensation question. – Peter M Jan 4 '18 at 12:56
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Yes, based on other cases, compensation is due in this situation under EU261.

The relevant portion of the EU261 regulations state:

(14) As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier.

As you state, other flights were operating without issue on the route you were flying, so the meteorological conditions the airline are relying on for their case is not related to your flight.

In the UK, this has been interpreted by the British courts as not applying to delays caused by events elsewhere, so airlines cannot use issues such as scheduling problems caused by weather elsewhere to refuse you compensation.

In 2013, easyJet was ordered to pay compensation in such a situation, and in 2016 a passenger received compensation from Ryanair under similar situations.

In 2016 Monarch was ordered to pay compensation by a Judge who ruled that adverse weather conditions were to be anticipated by an airline in its planning.

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