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Cancelled Flights Because of Technical Problems: When You’re Entitled to Compensation

Cancelled Flights Because of Technical Problems: When You’re Entitled to Compensation

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
Last Updated: May 09, 2024

Depending on the nature of the technical problem, you could be entitled up to €600 if your flight was cancelled as a result.

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We all want to fly safely, so if your flight is cancelled for technical problems, what does that mean exactly? For passengers in the EU and UK, it could mean that your flight is eligible for airline compensation. So, let's take a closer look at what causes technical problems, when they’re the airline’s responsibility, and when they’re outside the airline’s control.

Want a free, fast, and easy way to see if your cancelled flight is eligible for compensation? Just enter your flight details below!

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What Counts As A Technical Problem

In the airline industry, a technical problem in one area can affect countless operations, and the problems could begin anywhere, and not just with the aircraft itself. Rest assured, airlines in the EU, UK, Canada, and the US all have the highest standards of safety.

Still, if you have a flight cancellation and the airline tells you it was caused by technical problems, they are usually talking about one of the following reasons:

  • Problems with the wing flaps
  • Smoke detected in the cabin
  • A necessary wheel change
  • Problems with the brakes
  • Engine failure
  • Electrical issues or failure
  • Faulty landing gear
  • Kerosine leakage
  • Hydraulic system malfunction
  • Issues with cabin pressure
  • Problems resulting from a tail strike
  • Problems resulting from a hard landing

Technical problems can be split into two categories

This is where your eligibility for compensation can be affected. 

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If the cancellation (caused by technical problems) was within the airline’s control, and you were notified less than 14 days before departure, then you are eligible for compensation.

Cancelled Flight Technical Problems

Extraordinary Circumstances

Flight delays and cancellations can both be chalked up to technical problems, but if they are truly caused by extraordinary circumstances then you will not be eligible for airline compensation. But what are we talking about here?

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Extraordinary circumstances can be defined as being circumstances that are outside the airline’s control or unavoidable despite their best efforts. An airport strike or issues with air traffic control, dangerous weather, and civil unrest are all examples of extraordinary circumstances.

In the technical realm, extraordinary circumstances can include:

  • The effects on an aircraft after a lightning strike
  • A bird strike where the plane collides with one bird or even a flock which can damage the plane
  • A hidden, manufacturer defect (think the recent grounding of Boeing planes)

So, if your cancelled flight was caused by any of the above, then you most likely won’t be eligible for airline compensation.

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Technical Issues Within the Airline’s Control

If you had a cancelled flight and submitted a compensation claim, it might be rejected on the grounds that the technical problem was outside their control. This is why it’s so important to know which issues are actually part of the airline’s responsibility in terms of keeping their aircraft serviced and in top operating condition.

In most cases, the following situations can be attributed to airline maintenance, so if your cancelled flight had one of these issues, you should be entitled to compensation.

  • Problems with the wing flaps
  • Smoke detected in the cabin
  • Wheel changes
  • Problems with the brakes
  • Engine problems or failure
  • Electrical issues or failure
  • Faulty landing gear
  • Kerosine leakage
  • Hydraulic system malfunction
  • Issues with cabin pressure

Airlines are required to maintain their aircraft regularly so they stay in safe operating condition but also to prevent flight disruptions. So, if they fail to do this, and a flight is cancelled as a result, then the airline can be held responsible.

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Your Rights

EU and UK Regulations EU 261 and UK 261 both clearly state that passengers may be entitled to as much as €600 in compensation for cancelled flights caused by technical problems. So, if you were flying with an EU or UK airline or departing from an EU or UK airport, you would be covered by these regulations.

In Canada, the law requires airlines to compensate passengers up to $1,000 CAD for delayed or cancelled flights caused by technical issues. Therefore, if your cancellation was with a Canadian airline or on a flight arriving OR departing from Canada, you will be protected by these laws.

In the United States, no federal laws exist to protect US passengers rights for cancelled flights caused by avoidable technical issues. Instead, each airline makes its own rules that can be found in the airline’s contract of carriage.

How to File Your Compensation Claim

Are you thinking about submitting a compensation claim for your cancelled flight? You can start by visiting the airline’s website and looking for their contact information. You’ll have to prepare a letter to email them that includes information about your flight itinerary, booking receipts, and boarding pass as well as proof that your flight was cancelled. This can be screenshots of the cancellation notice you received and information you were able to get from airline agents.

Another option is to let us file your claim for you.

We have a team of legal professionals who have been fighting for passenger rights all over the world since 2017. They can handle all the aspects of your cancellation claim so you don’t have to. Not only that, but if we win your case, you get paid. If we don’t then the service is free. Plus, we’re proud to have a 98% success rate! Amazing, agreed? Get started today by entering your flight details below.

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