Can I Claim Flight Compensation For Airline Crew Sickness?

If your flight has been cancelled or delayed, one of the reasons this might have happened is because members of the flight crew were sick.

Published on August 1st, 2018

Desmond

If a flight is understaffed, it can’t fly. The time it takes for an airline to bring in cover staff and crew might mean you are delayed more than three hours and if this happens, you may be entitled to compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.

Many passengers aren’t aware of their rights when being delayed because of crew sickness – this guide will explain what you’re entitled to, what the airline is obliged to provide and tell you how much compensation you could claim.

Is Airline Crew Sickness An Extraordinary Circumstance?

Airline crew sickness is not an extraordinary circumstance according to EU Regulation 261/2004 and you should be able to make a claim if your flight was delayed or cancelled for this reason.

There have been a number of high profile court cases dealing with this argument and they have been found in favour of passengers, meaning airlines must pay out compensation when delays exceed 3 hours because of crew sickness.

What our clients say

“Makes it all so easy and care free. Very easy to use. They do all the hard work. Always sending updates and explaining where they are up to and what is next, Makes what seemed like an impossible task, easy to do..”

4.7/5

Based on 980 reviews.

Extraordinary circumstances must stem from an event that is not inherent to the activity of the airline. They must also be completely unavoidable, even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

Court cases have been found in favour of passengers, meaning airlines should pay compensation when delays exceed 3 hours because of crew sickness.

The courts have decided that staff are likely to get sick at some point, and airlines should have measures in place to make sure that this does not disrupt the running of the airline. Therefore, staff sickness is not able to be classed as an extraordinary circumstance.

Ready to see if you can claim?

Check your flight now and get an instant decision

Check Your Flight

Airline Staff Sickness

If a member of the airline staff fails to report to work because of an illness, then this is classed as a staff sickness and the airline would need to still operate the flight while meeting the minimum requirements of crew to passenger ratios.

When staff are taken ill close to the flight departure time and can’t work, it might be that there is a long delay while the airline bring in cover staff to handle the flight.

Staff sickness can include the following:

  • Cabin crew
  • Check-in staff
  • Ground crew
  • Pilots or co-pilots

It doesn’t matter which role the staff member performs, if it creates a long delay then you could be entitled to claim compensation for your inconvenience.

What If My Pilot/Cabin Crew Have Run Out Of Hours?

Airline crew can only work a certain number of hours before they need to take a break. This is to ensure the safety of the flight staff and passengers.

If they’ve been subject to delays, this can mean that they go over their allotted hours, and new crew must staff the flight. Waiting for them can cause a delay.

Our Simple Three Steps Claim Process

Check your flight with our free, industry leading calculator.

Our legal team go to work and negotiate with the airline for you.

Your claim is settled and the compensation is paid to you.

According to previous cases, the airline should factor these potential problems into their operating processes, and so a flight delay or cancellation due to this kind of staffing issue would still be eligible for flight delay compensation.

What Are My Rights For Delays Through Staff Sickness

If your flight is delayed because of staff sickness, you could be owed flight delay compensation.

In order to be eligible, you need to have been travelling from an EU airport or to an EU airport on an EU airline and be delayed by 3 hours or more on arrival.

If you meet these criteria, then you could be entitled to up to 600 Euros in flight delay compensation.

Ready to see if you can claim?

Check your flight now and get an instant decision

Check Your Flight

How much you’re entitled to depends on how far you were travelling and how long you’re delayed for. The amount you can claim is fixed and will be anywhere between 250 and 600 Euros per passenger.

Flight DistanceLength Of DelayCompensation Amount
Up to 1,500km3 hours or more€250
1,500km-3,500km3 hours or more€400
Over 3,500km3 hours or more & between 2 EU Member States€400
Over 3,500km3-4 hours€300
Over 3,500km4 hours €600

Can I Claim Compensation If My Flight Has Been Cancelled Due To Staff Sickness?

If your flight has been cancelled because of a staff or crew sickness problem, you could be due flight cancellation compensation.

Under EU Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004, if your flight has been cancelled, you are entitled to flight delay compensation unless the reason for that cancellation was an extraordinary circumstance.

Get An Instant Decision On Your Flight

Our flight compensation checker is the most accurate on the web. It checks the following instantly.

  • The length of your delay
  • The cause of your delay
  • Legal validity of claim
  • How much you could claim

Check Your Flight

Extraordinary circumstances include ‘freak’ or ‘wholly exceptional’ weather, terrorism, sabotage, strikes or hidden manufacturing defects – they do not include staff sickness.

The amounts you can claim for a cancellation due to staff sickness can be slightly different to the delay amounts depending on the timings of any alternate flight the airline provides.

Flight DistanceLength Of DelayCompensation Amount
Up to 1,500kmReplacement flight departs more than 1 hour early€125
Up to 1,500kmReplacement flight arrives more than 2 hours late€250
1,500km to 3,500kmReplacement flight departs more than 1 hour early€200
1,500km to 3,500kmReplacement flight arrives 2-3 hours late€200
1,500km to 3,500kmReplacement flight arrives more than 3 hours late.€400
Over 1,500Km and between two EU StatesReplacement flight departs more than 1 hour early€200
Over 1,500Km and between two EU StatesReplacement flight arrives 2-3 hours late.€200
Over 1,500Km and between two EU StatesReplacement flight arrives more than 3 hours late€400
Over 3,500kmReplacement flight departs more than 1 hour early €300
Over 3,500kmReplacement flight arrives 2-4 hours late €300
 Over 3,500kmReplacement flight arrives more than 4 hours late €600

I’ve Been Told I Can’t Claim Compensation For Staff Sickness

Just because you’ve been told this, doesn’t mean that you can’t. Airlines will often tell passengers that they’re not entitled to flight delay or flight cancellation compensation when they are.

When flight delays are because of staff sickness, airlines may quote Marchbanks Vs Virgin Atlantic Airways.

In this case, Marchbank took Virgin Atlantic Airways to court and was represented by Bott and Co. The court ruled in favour of Virgin Atlantic who therefore did not have to pay flight delay compensation.

Our parent company, Bott and Co solicitors had other clients who were on the same flight and requested to appeal the decision on behalf of the Marchbanks. Before they could, Virgin Atlantic Airways decided to pay the Marchbanks their compensation, thus avoiding a binding appeal case.

Still, airlines will quote the original case and cite it as proof that you can’t claim compensation for staff sickness.

If your airline refuses to compensate you because their cabin crew, pilots or check-in staff were ill, remember that you are legally entitled to compensation for your flight delay or cancellation under EU Regulation 261/2004. They are obligated to pay you it under EU law.

Get An Instant Decision On Your Flight

Our flight compensation checker is the most accurate on the web. It checks the following instantly.

  • The length of your delay
  • The cause of your delay
  • Legal validity of claim
  • How much you could claim

Check Your Flight