Flight delayed for 7 hours (3 of them inside the plane) due to missing crew members, then cancelled due to "bad weather" (probably not true as a later flight, same airline+destination left the airport that night).

We had to sleep in the airport, because it was announced that there are no more hotels available. There were camp beds, but we were only able to get them because we were travelling in a bigger group. Some passengers slept on the floor or elsewhere. We went to bed at around two o'clock after waiting hours in the queue, trying to get a refund or something.

The thing is, my girlfriend has a sensitive stomach. Unexpectedly we had to get meal and later dinner at the airport, both of which didn't bode too well with her stomach. She was okay until around midnight. When going to bed she vomited a bit and then tried to sleep, but couldn't due to the uncomfortable beds and her stomach. I tried to get some rest, but she was vomiting more or less the whole night. At around 3:30 she went to the bathroom, and when she came back, she looked really weak and I was getting really, really worried about her health and if she would even be able to get the flight in the morning. So we went to the airport clinic, where they gave her a few pills that didn't help too much either. After that we went straight to the terminal and waited for the flight (4 hours); she didn't want to lay down as she started feeling dizzy when doing so due to lack of sleep, stress, and her general condition. Also, we didn't know if they would cancel our flight again, as later there was announced that there were strikes... turned out that that was the case on another airport, but it got us really worried, especially my girlfriend.

She got better after the flight, which tells me that it was due to the circumstances and not her beeing ill from before the whole thing happened.

So my question is: Assuming that the airline is actually at fault for the delay, do you think we have any chances of success demanding compensation for her suffering at the airport, either by contacting the airline directly or via a specialized 3rd-party site? If yes, how much would be reasonable? We have the medical report from the clinic. Also, we will demand compensation for the delays and cancellations, and for the constant misinformation or lack of information. Even if they say it was the weather, this smells like an excuse.

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    Your question is long and full of irrelevant details. Please could you edit it down to a more reasonable length? We don't need a blow-by-blow account of how your flight was delayed. Your entire first paragraph can be summarized as "Our flight was cancelled after being delayed for N hours by the weather, crew problems and de-icing issues. Our rescheduled flight the following morning was delayed two more hours by crew problems." Feb 8, 2019 at 12:50
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    What write @hunger is very important, also when communicating to the airline for compensation. Stick only on the important points (which will show up also much more professional, so as you know what to do). Feb 8, 2019 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


Since you tagged Europe, I can say you will only be eligible for compensation specifically defined in Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004.

The airlines don't lie about the reason for delays. The consequences of that are far greater then just paying the compensation. Since the flight was delayed due to a crew shortage, you should get the maximum delay compensation depending on the length of the flight.

You will not be compensated for your girlfriends circumstances. Just let this be a lesson that you and her should prepare for such scenarios in the future. I'm happy to hear she recovered.

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    "The airlines don't lie about the reason for delays. The consequences of that are far greater then just paying the compensation." AFAIK there's no consequence. Weather is the standard go-to, before the hidden manufacturing defect comes up. If you persist, the airline settles the night before the court hearing.
    – Calchas
    Feb 9, 2019 at 12:41
  • @Calchas Absent financial penalties, the airlines want to stay off the radar of the regulators, bureaucrats and especially politicians...unless there's an 'alternate' arrangement in place... :)
    – DTRT
    Feb 9, 2019 at 15:31

I have no doubt that the airline will decline your compensation demands and claim the delays were caused by exceptionally bad weather. If you decide to proceed with your demand, I would even assume (but IANAL) that a court ruling would agree with the airline.

It did snow exceptionally much in Munich last Sunday. I was there. The weather did not only restrict operations at the airport, but the weather had also severe impact on rail and road traffic. Many trains were delayed or even cancelled. I drove by car from Berlin to Munich that day and it took me about four hours longer than usual.

I am sorry to hear about your girlfriend's health issues, but I do not really see anything the airline could have done much better in this situation. It does not mean anything that other planes were allowed to depart. Bad weather can restrict the airport's capacity without it being necessary to close completely, which in practice means that some flights, but not all, have to be cancelled.

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    According to OP's story, there were other flights taking off. And while weather could have affected crew positioning, this doesn't mean that it was impossible for the flight to operate. The airline could have had relief crew available in Berlin to account for this situation, allowing the flight to operate. Therefore, while the airline might deny the claim, on appeal it could quite conceivably be reversed.
    – MJeffryes
    Feb 8, 2019 at 10:16
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    @MJeffryes 240 flights were cancelled in Munich last Sunday. A single relief crew would not have solved the situation and I doubt you will find a court ruling that it is reasonable for airlines to have such a number of stand-by crew ready to step in in case of bad weather. Feb 8, 2019 at 10:24
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    @MJeffryes But the problems where weren't "only indirectly related to the weather". They were absolutely caused by unusually heavy snow in Munich, which resulted in a large fraction of the day's flights being cancelled. This is what happens in winter. Feb 8, 2019 at 12:53
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    @hunger No, sorry, I don't think so. Your girlfriend's suffering wasn't a foreseeable consequence for the airline.
    – MJeffryes
    Feb 8, 2019 at 13:51
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    @hunger To be entitled to any compensation beyond the default compensations set in the EU regulations, the airline must have shown gross negligence. There is nothing in your question indicating so. Feb 8, 2019 at 13:53

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