Airlines BMI, Ryanair and easyJet not required to pay compensation to Bristol Airport passengers stuck after flights cancelled
Dozens of flights were cancelled coming and leaving the airport on Friday, December 22 and thousands of people stuck around the world might not get compensation.
Christmas plans were ruined for thousands of people in Bristol and around the world - but several of them will get no compensation at all.
Despite dozens of flights entering and leaving the airport being cancelled after a plane skidded off the runway, three major airlines are not required to pay any compensation.
Friday, December 22 was one of the busiest days of the year at Bristol International Airport and the chaos meant several people will not get home in time for Christmas or get to spend a dream festive holiday abroad.
And the specific circumstances leading to the cancellations mean BMI, Ryanair and easyJet do not have to offer compensation - it was all out of their hands.
The delays started around 11.45am when a BMI flight from Frankfurt went off the runway, causing several other flights to be diverted.
No flights were allowed into or out of Bristol Airport on Friday afternoon, leaving thousands of people worried about getting home in time for Christmas.
And to make things worse, the airline companies will not have to pay out compensation for the cancellations.
According to AirHelp, a company that provides legal services to airline passengers, the circumstances around the cancellations mean airlines will not have to offer compensation, although they will provide alternative transport and reimburse alternative transport costs.
Paloma Salmeron Planells, head of global communications, said: “Certain circumstances must be met before compensation is paid out.
“One reason it won’t be is if there are extraordinary circumstances. As a rule of thumb, it’s basic things beyond the control of the airline.
“That can be weather, security problems, or anything else. In this case at Bristol Airport, the traffic control established the airlines coming into Bristol could not land because of security reasons.
“That is considered to be beyond the airline control. That was the decision of Air Traffic Control there.
“As for the flight which skidded off the runway, that was not late or delayed.
“The airlines were following the rules of the Air Traffic Control. If the flight was delayed or cancelled because of, say, technical issues or they don’t have enough staff, then passengers have a right to compensation. But not in this case.”
Airlines have already offered to reimburse passengers who might find their way back.
EasyJet said: “We can confirm that due to the closure of Bristol airport’s runway easyJet will be cancelling and diverting a number of flights in and out of Bristol today, Friday 22nd December.
“EasyJet is working hard to minimise disruption for passengers, providing hotel accommodation and alternative transport where it is possible.
“For passengers who source their own alternative transport, easyJet will reimburse the cost. The safety and wellbeing of passengers is always easyJet’s priority.
“We would like to thank passengers for their understanding and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
BMI said passengers can request a full refund, rebook on an alternative BMI flight or rebook on another airline that BMI has an agreement with.
BMI chief executive Peter Simpson said: “BMI is aware that many passengers and airlines have seen disruptions to their journeys to and from Bristol Airport today as a result of an incident this morning.
“The investigation into what happened to flight BM1822 after landing is continuing and we are working closely with Bristol Airport and the services to ensure that the airport can return to normal as soon as possible.
“We understand that at Christmas, delays and cancellations can be very distressing for those travelling to see friends and family and we empathise with everyone affected.”