No right to compensation after Bird Strike

Passengers confronted with a flight delay after a bird strike are finally getting legal clarity: no right to compensation because of exceptional circumstances.

No compensation

According to the European regulation EU261/2004 passengers have the right to be financially compensated when flight delays longer than 3 hours occur. Yet, if there are cases of ‘exceptional circumstances’, airlines don’t have to pay out compensation.

The definition of ‘exceptional circumstances’ is regrettably quite vague and has often been the stake of a prejudicial question toward the European Court of Justice (for example regarding technical defects and weather circumstances).

Bird Strike as exceptional circumstance

In the beginning of May this year the European court added an extra clarification to the definition of ‘exceptional circumstances’. Bird Strike happens to be an exceptional circumstance. If a plane is delayed because a bird flew into its engines, no compensation ought to be paid out to its passengers.

Planes share the air with birds and it happens more often than you think that a bird dies in the engine of a plane. We have had several files of customers whereby the negotiation was stuck because it happened to be about a bird strike.

Clarity for passengers

We are happy with this verdict, because the more clarity the less chance of arguing with an airline.

When you submit a claim through us, we will always check if exceptional circumstances were in play. We will let you know as soon as possible if a claim is admissible or not. 

Stephanie Van den Broeck