Traveling can be a headache for anyone, even without a weather issue causing delays. However, once that hurricane comes around, you might be left waiting around the airport for hours before your flight can take off making the traveling experience that much worse. There’s not much that you can do when it comes to weather delaying your flight, but can you be reimbursed for lost time?

Many circumstances lead to delays and cancellations. Some of these circumstances qualify you for financial reimbursements under the EU261 regulation, many of them do not. But what about the weather? It’s not something the airline can control, so if it’s the cause of your delay, are you still eligible for financial compensation? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, it all depends on the circumstances. Let’s take a look at what qualifies you for protection and what does not.

Weather Issues That Qualify For Compensation

Unfortunately, you’ll find that most delays caused by weather will not be subject to financial compensation. Weather is outside of the airline’s control and therefore does not qualify for protections under the EU261 regulation. However, some airlines use weather as an excuse for an otherwise manageable issue. If the airline claimed the delay or cancellation was due to bad weather, but other airlines are conducting flights as scheduled, you may be eligible for compensation still.

It can be difficult to prove that the bad weather was simply an excuse the airline was using to cover up an otherwise controllable issue. Check across databases to see other airlines operating in the same space at the same time as your delayed flight to see if bad weather affected them or not. If it didn’t, chances are your airline delayed your flight to fix a problem that could’ve been prevented, qualifying you for compensation.

Weather Issues That Don’t Qualify

Most real weather issues are not qualified for protection under the EU261 regulation. Bad weather – when the cause for a delay – is something that the airline doesn’t have control over. Delays caused by bad weather are typically done for safety reasons. Hurricanes, blizzards, ash clouds, storm fronts, and most adverse weather conditions are not protected and do not qualify for financial compensation from the airline.

It does make sense, in the end, that weather isn’t protected under the regulation. Delays caused by weather are done for the protection of the aircraft and its passengers. If you could claim financial compensation for a weather delay, airlines would be less willing to wait out the storm, putting passengers at risk.

How Much Compensation Can You Claim

The amount of money you may be eligible for will change based on the situation of the delay. If your flight was to or from a country within the EU, then you qualify for EU261 protections. If the airline you’re flying is a European airline, then you qualify as well. The real deciding factor in how much compensation you’re eligible for is how long your flight was delayed.

If your flight was delayed by less than 3 hours, you won’t be eligible for compensation. However, flights delayed for 4 hours will compensate higher than 3-hour delays. The longer the flight is delayed, the more you could receive compensation.

The distance your flight covers will also affect how much compensation you could earn. The longer the flight, the more money back you could receive. Transcontinental flights will give you the highest reimbursement as they’re likely the most expensive, to begin with.

Weather is unlikely to qualify you for delay compensation on its own, but if you find that the bad weather was simply an excuse by the airline to cover up other reasons, you could be eligible for financial reimbursement.