My long-distance flight (>3500km) with an EU airline (Lufthansa) is delayed for ~6 hours. At checkin they told me they had to re-route due to medical issues.

From what I found online, a medical emergency may qualify as extraordinary reasons but e.g. a delay caused by bad weather (another extraordinary reason) on the flight that brings the plan to the departure airport doesn't.

Does the same apply to medical reasons on a previous flight?


  • LH 454 from FRA to SFO had to re-route to Iceland, apparently due to a medical emergency.
  • This is the same plane as LH 455 from SFO to FRA, for which I have a ticket, and which is delayed by ~6 hours.
  • While this most likely means extraordinary circumstances for LH 454 passengers, I'm not sure whether or not it's considered extraordinary circumstances for my LH 455 flight.
  • 2
    I imagine they will claim a medical diversion is an 'extraordinary circumstance' that is beyond their control, thus denying any compensation.
    – DTRT
    Oct 17, 2016 at 23:33

1 Answer 1


Based on the IACA pleading for a change of regulation

IACA members see the following key priorities for their business model:

an acknowledgement that airlines must optimise the use of their fleet and that reactionary (sequential) delays should therefore be taken into account in the exemptions to pay out compensation. Indeed, a flight irregularity often creates knock-on effects, i.e. impacts more than one aircraft rotation.

It is quite clear currently this is not so otherwise why would they want a change?

  • So I guess I should be entitled to compensation? Oct 17, 2016 at 22:35
  • 1
    That is my interpretation, yes. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and I do not even play one on television.
    – user4188
    Oct 18, 2016 at 7:16
  • I think their issue is that the effect of a delayed flight can effect several subsequent flights rather than just the immediate flight.
    – user13044
    Oct 18, 2016 at 7:22
  • Which is exactly OP's case.
    – user4188
    Oct 18, 2016 at 15:41

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