In a world dictated by change and massive mobility, flight delays have quickly become an element of frustration. This is the time of ‘here and now’, even for the the ones who embrace slow travel. But let’s remember for a second that we are not all super-humans and that we are still at the mercy of nature. From weather to technical issues, here are some of the main reasons why flights get delayed and what you can do when that happens.

Why do flights get delayed?

#Overcrowded airports

Air traffic continues to grow, with more and more people choosing to shorten the time they spend on long-distance travel. It is no wonder that almost all major airports have congestion-related issues. With planes coming and going all the time, the overall schedule sometimes gets messed up. It often happens that your flight has to wait for connecting passengers from other flights. How does this affect you, the traveler? You sometimes end up having to wait longer for your boarding in the airport or sit calmly inside the plane for it to take off.


Even though it may seem sunny and perfect where you are, it may be that somewhere along the way there is a storm. If there is a safety risk, the airline will most likely cancel/delay the flight.

#Loading bags

The cargo doors have to be shot before the plane takes off. This means all the luggage has to be inside immediately after the passengers are seated. Sometimes this process doesn’t go so smoothly and the take off can get delayed.

#Various safety and security issues

The security staff is constantly on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. This constant check-up sometimes leads to flight delays. For example when a luggage already boarded in a plane causes suspicion. Also, when a plane lands into a different country, there are security clearances that need to be handed before the passengers can fly further. All these can  cause delays and sometimes even cancellations.

#Technical problems

Sometimes an aircraft inspection will reveal some technical issues and the personnel will consider it unsafe for the passengers to go on board. This inevitably causes a delay and in the worse cases, even a flight cancellation.

#Employee strikes

Contrary to general believe, the most common reasons for flight delays and cancellation within Europe are employee strikes and not issues related to the weather. Even though strikes are considered ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that delay a flight, the passengers can still try to file a complaint and get a compensation for their trouble.

These are some of the most encountered reasons why flights get delayed. However, the list goes on and it includes air system issues, crew rest requirements and even catering and supplying-related problems.

#What to do when your flight gets delayed

Depending on the reason why your flight got delayed or cancelled, you can ask for a compensation of up to 600 Euros.

You can do that by filing a complaint with the airline directly, or by cooperating with a passenger rights advocate, such as AirHelp. In Europe, you can file a claim and get compensation from British Airways or other major airlines in any situation that the company can control. For example, if there is a technical issue with an aircraft that causes a delay, this is the airline’s responsibility. You can also get a sum of money is the plane you were on was overbooked. However, you can not get compensations for delays and cancellations due to bad weather.

The money you can get range from €250 for short flights that are behind schedule three hours or more, and up to €60 for long-distance travels that are over four hours late.

What is your personal experience with flight delays/cancellations? Where you ever in a situation that required assistance for filing a complaint?


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