I RECENTLY EXPERIENCED A 12-HOUR DELAY IN ABU DHABI, FLYING WITH ETIHAD AIRLINES, DUE TO "HEAVY SNOW IN NEW YORK". DOES AN AIRLINE HAVE ANY RESPONSIBILITY TO COMPENSATE PASSENGERS FOR THIS DELAY? A. KNOTT, WOOLLAHRA, NSW
The rights and responsibilities an airline has to its passengers are covered by the airline's Conditions of Carriage. Essentially, the airline acknowledges that the payment of a fare guarantees the airline will transport the passenger from their origin to their destination with due care and diligence. It will also include words to the effect that flights may be delayed by technical problems and events beyond its control. Although in some jurisdictions an airline must pay compensation if a flight is delayed for several hours due to its own failings, in your case the delay was caused by an unforeseen event, and beyond the airline's control. Therefore the airline is not liable to pay compensation. In a case such as yours, if you have suffered loss or inconvenience as a result of the delay, you might turn to your travel insurer.