Gatwick Airport passengers not entitled to compensation due to '˜extraordinary circumstances' Â

The Civil Aviation Authority has said passengers affected by the drone disruption at Gatwick Airport may not get compensation for lost or delayed flights.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 3:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:29 am
People queue at Gatwick as the airport remains closed with incoming flights delayed or diverted to other airports. Picture: PA

In a statement issued today it said: '˜The CAA is offering the following advice to passengers currently experiencing disruption at Gatwick Airport. 

'˜Under EU261 regulations, passengers that no longer wish to take their flight can contact their airline for a refund.

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People queue at Gatwick as the airport remains closed with incoming flights delayed or diverted to other airports. Picture: PA

'˜For those passengers that do still wish to fly, we advise them to contact their airline to understand the options available.

'˜Given the reasons for the current disruption at Gatwick Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority considers this event to be an extraordinary circumstance.

'˜In such circumstances airlines are not obliged to pay financial compensation to passengers affected by the disruption.'

However, some airlines have said they will help their passengers.

British Airways issued a statement on their website saying: '˜We take the safety of our customers and crew extremely seriously, and like most airlines at London Gatwick airport, we have cancelled a number of flights today.

'˜Our airport teams are working to minimise the disruption for our customers at what we know is a very important time of year.

'˜We are offering customers travelling today to or from London Gatwick a range of rebook and refund options.

'˜Please log in to your booking for the latest information and options on your flights. If your flight has been cancelled, you will be able to choose an alternative flight or claim a refund.

'˜If your flight still shows as operating and you'd like to change your travel plans, please contact us.' 

This morning at 11.10am EasyJet said: '˜If your flight is cancelled we strongly advise customers not to travel to the airport and transfer their flights free of charge or take a refund by logging onto Manage Bookings on or our Flight Tracker.

'˜The unauthorised drone activity is still ongoing, and it is not clear when the runway will re-open. We are seeing high levels of disruption to our Gatwick programme, and we are continuously monitoring our flights.

'˜We apologise again for the disruption you may be experiencing.' 

It is thought tens of thousands of passengers have been affected by the disruption which started last night at 10.30pm.

Stories have emerged of distraught families who were due to go to Lapland as well as families due to fly to Tenerife for Christmas.

Sussex woman Paddy Kelly was due to meet her newborn great-grandson in Northern Ireland but now won't be able to due to flight cancellations.

However, some passengers have been luckier, with some flights moved to Heathrow.

Billingshurst resident Anna Khoo was on one of the last flights to land before the runway was closed, touched down just after 9pm last night.

'˜We must have been one of the last planes to touch down before all the chaos kicked off.

'˜We'd been fast-tracked over Heathrow and arrived about 15 minutes early.

'˜The captain announced the runway had been closed because of a drone while we were waiting for a stand at the terminal '” we escaped it all by minutes.

'˜It seems ridiculous that someone would be that irresponsible.

'˜I can't imagine the frustration of people unable to get home, not to mention the cost to businesses.' 

Have your flight been delayed or cancelled due to the drone disruption? If so, please email [email protected] with your story and contact details.