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I am a bit new to compensations, but after spending 9 hours between flights, and then 4 more hours due to delay, I am wondering about my situation. When aircraft finally arrived to HEL, airline told us that delay was caused by weather conditions in AMS, and scheduled aircraft was not able to leave airport. Thus, airline assembled another crew and aircraft, which arrived to take us to our destination. Taking into account that weather conditions is something that airline cannot control, I wonder it is important that it was weather in third airport, not in HEL or PRG.

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The operative language in the EU air passenger rights regulation is:

An operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 7, if it can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

So in order to get out of paying compensation, the cause does not only have to be outside the airline's control -- it also has to be "extraordinary circumstances".

The European Court of Justice has taken a quite limited view of what counts as "extraordinary". Major (Eyafjallajökull-scale) disruptions probably will be, but ordinary weather conditions that don't make the news (except very locally where they occur) probably won't. Weather trouble is viewed as an ordinary risk of doing business for airlines.

Thus, go ahead and claim compensation. If the airline refuses, you will then have to decide whether to take them to court to enforce your rights. There are several specialized legal agencies that will generally take these cases on a "you win or it's free" basis, in exchange for a cut of the compensation you get.

  • Very similar to another answer I gave elsewhere - the EU261 rules state "meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned" which several British courts have interpreted as only your flight. If your flight is delayed because of weather not at the departure or destination airports or en route between those points, then you are due compensation as the airline should have mitigated that disruption as part of its normal planning. – Moo Jan 25 '18 at 18:45
  • @Moo: Yes, that earlier answer has better references than I could find. – Henning Makholm Jan 25 '18 at 18:48

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