Air Traffic Control strike- Compensation

In September I travelled to Tenerife for a 5 day trip. The day I was due to return (Friday) there was a strike by French Air traffic controllers. At the airport check-in I asked is the flight delayed? NO. I was handed a boarding card and proceeded through customs. Around 30 minutes before the due take off time the plane was cancelled.

We had to proceed back in to the departure lounge, queue up to be told the airline would pay hotel accommodation for 1 night, in a hotel 2 hours from the airport and there were no flights available for 3 days (Monday). We were expected to pay for additional nights + our own return journey. We were told by airport staff representing the airline Wizz Air that we would receive $400 Euro's compensation.

 I needed to be back in London for a special event on the Saturday, so after searching for any flight to UK on Saturday found one with another budget airline and booked.  I arrived at a different airport (Bristol) , missed out on the hotel I paid for on return to Luton and had further expenses with trains, etc.. I contacted Wizz air who have rejected my claim under Article 7 and advised that I can only claim for food, transport and accommodation and to re-submit a claim. 

If the flight was going to be cancelled and the action was known about in advance, why was I allowed to check in, go through customs and not have my flight cancelled before travelling to the airport? 

What am I entitled to from the airline as I am told my insurance does not cover cancelled flights only delays? 


  • Caz3121
    Caz3121 Posts: 15,514
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    Air Traffic strikes are not within the control of the airline and are classed as extraordinary circumstances to no compensation payable
    you are entitled to duty of care costs, your food, transport and accommodation
    In addition you should receive a refund of your unused flight...note if the replacement flight was more expensive that your original flight you would be better asking for a refund of the new flight instead

  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,837
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Jubags111 said:
    I contacted Wizz air who have rejected my claim under Article 7 and advised that I can only claim for food, transport and accommodation and to re-submit a claim. 
    If the cancellation was due to exceptional circumstances (such as an ATC strike) then WizzAir aren't obliged to pay compensation under Article 7, so you shouldn't have been informed that this was due, unless the real reason for the cancellation was something within the airline's control.

    However, their obligations under Article 8 were to arrange rerouting at the earliest opportunity and (under Article 9) to pay for accommodation and meals while waiting, so even if you'd accepted the flight three days later then they'd have needed to pay for three nights in a hotel, not one.

    If you identified a more suitable rerouting option then they should reimburse you for the flight, and potentially a train fare to your original airport, although they have form for rejecting such claims on the basis that you chose to make such alternative arrangements independently even though they'd offered you one of their own flights.  Even if they rejected the alternative rerouting that you chose then they should refund you the original flight cost, although I imagine that would be less?
  • CKhalvashi
    CKhalvashi Posts: 12,031
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    Just for clarity, this is a claim against Wizz Air UK Limited if this needs to be taken further, and when I mention Wizz, this is the legal entity I am referring to.

    You should have no issue claiming for what you've asked for minus compensation, but your hotel at Luton will be your responsibility under my reading of the rules. You have the option of an alternative flight but can re-route, make sure you do not ask for a refund as this will negate the duty of care to an extent.

    Is Bristol more convenient for you? If not, I would deem the airline to be liable for reasonable transport (likely the bus) at least to the London area if your transport did not stop at Luton.

    Compensation will not be payable in this case as the cancellation was outside the control of Wizz.
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