Question: Last month, our flight from Cancun to Manchester was delayed nearly eight hours due to a broken windscreen on the plane.
Naturally, this delay caused some inconvenience. Instead of an afternoon departure and an early morning arrival, we left Mexico very late in the evening and arrived in Manchester in mid-afternoon.
We applied to the airline for compensation of €600 (£530). But it rejected the claim referring to what it said was an official document regarding what counted as “extraordinary circumstances”, saying that damage during a preceding flight got them off the hook.
Is this correct, and is there an option open to seek compensation? Mark R Answer: The Civil Aviation Authority has a list of circumstances that count as “extraordinary”, and therefore airlines do not need to pay compensation.
Excuses include: “In-flight damage to the aircraft during the preceding flight, caused by a foreign-object, and which requires immediate assessment and/or repair.”
If the cracked windscreen was caused by a foreign object — typically a bird strike — then the airline is entitled to refuse your claim. But the carrier should provide evidence to substantiate its assertion that a foreign object was responsible.
Assuming it is allowed to decline payment, there is another little-used avenue which may enable you to get recompense: the Montreal Convention.
If a flight is delayed for any reason, and a passenger can demonstrate actual financial loss, then a claim may succeed.
But it will depend on evidence that the delay was more than simply exasperating. You must show it cost you money.
So if you arrived late for a family event, that would not be covered; but a claim for lost wages might succeed.
TROPICAL PARADISE: Cancun is a popular Mexican destination