If your flight was cancelled due to the pilot strike at Brussels Airlines, you're entitled to compensation

If your flight was cancelled due to the pilot strike at Brussels Airlines (SN), then you may be entitled to a compensation fee according to the EU261 / 2004 regulation. Depending on the distance and how much delay you eventually incur, you can get between € 250 and € 600 per person.

Flight Cancelled

As a result of the strike at Brussels Airlines, 75% of the flights were cancelled. As a result, thousands of passengers rushed to be rerouted on alternative flights. As soon as the alternative flight arrives 2 hours later than the originally booked flight, you are entitled to compensation. Please note that the actual arrival time of the alternative flight will be considered, not the scheduled timing as stated on the ticket.

No extraordinary circumstance

A planned strike of one's own staff is not considered an extraordinary circumstance. Such strikes are considered 'inherent to the normal exercise of the airline company'. Recently, the European Court of Justice also ruled about wildcat strikes. These too can no longer be regarded as an extraordinary circumstance.

How much compensation?

In order to determine the amount of the compensation, we fall back on the text of the regulation. After all, this is not easy to read in the event of a cancellation. We summarize it for you.

Depending on the distance of the flight, you fall into a certain category of compensation. There are 3 categories: 0-1500km; 1500-3500km and all flights longer but within the EU; +3500km and outside the EU. The respective compensation amounts to € 250, € 400 and € 600.

An additional rule states that the compensation fee will be halved if the alternative flight arrives less than 2, 3 or 4 hours later than the original one, depending on the distance traveled.

And to make things even more complicated, there is an extra exception rule that can ensure that you no longer are entitled to be compensated. This rule depends on when you were notified of your cancelled flight. In the case of the pilot strike at SN, this was within the last week before departure. Then, you've no right to compensation as soon as the alternative flight leaves not more than 1h earlier than the original flight, or arrives at your final destination less than 2h later.

That is quite a lot to grasp. With the diagram below we hope to make it clearer:

Cancelled flight compensation fee overview

How to calculate the distance?

It is important to know that the distance of the entire journey is count and not so much only the part that was cancelled. If for example you fly from Brussels to New York over London and the first part Brussels - London has been cancelled, the distance between Brussels and New York will be charged for determining the compensation. Of course, all flights must belong to the same ticket, otherwise they are not considered as one flight.

Get compensated

If you were offered an alternative flight by SN and you doubt whether you are entitled to compensation, you can check via the form on our website and then submit a file. Then our people will get to work for you and you do not have to worry about it. Our rates are also clearly stated on our website. We are happy to help you!

Steven Willems