What is force majeure?
When a flight is delayed, cancelled or overbooked, the airline companies often use the "force majeure" term as a reason.
Force majeure means "great strength" and is usually interpreted as an event that cannot be controlled. Typically, it is the unusual weather conditions, natural disasters, war, terror and dangerous outbreaks of disease.
What is force majeure?
When a flight is cancelled, or delayed due to force majeure, the airline company or travel agency usually will not be liable for it.
If your trip is cancelled due to force majeure you are entitled to receive your ticket refund. But, as a rule, you do not have the right to get a financial compensation in addition to any expenses you have covered.
If your flight is cancelled or delayed on your way home, the airline company must provide food and accommodation for the travellers. If you need a transport to another airport (if your departure has changed) it is the airline's duty to pay for your transport.
Limit your expenses
It is the airline company's duty to provide food, drink and accommodation if your flight is cancelled due to force majeure, but it is not always realised by the airline companies immediately. It may happen that the airline company does not automatically pay out your expenses. Sometimes they simply inform you that you have to save all documentation of your expenses.
In such cases, we advise you to keep your extra costs at a reasonable level if you do not want to risk paying for expensive hotel accommodation by yourself. This also is applied even if you cannot contact the airline company immediately for instructions on how to deal with the situation.
Not everything is force majeure
An airline company cannot cancel a flight and refer to "force majeure" at any unexpected event. There must be unusual circumstances that could not be avoided, even if all reasonable actions were actually taken.
If an airline company cancels a departure due to force majeure, while there is no force majeure accident, a traveller may be entitled to compensation under the EU Regulation.
At Flycancel every year we experience how more and more airline companies use force majeure as an excuse to avoid paying the compensation. In case you are in doubt if you are entitled to compensation, please contact Flycancel and let us review your case.