Reader Question: WestJet LGW-YYC 7-Hour Delay & EC 261/2004 Eligibility?


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us an email regarding a WestJet flight delay out of London Gatwick and eligibility for EC 261/2004 compensation.


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Here’s the email from Trevor:

Your newsletters are always asking that if we have questions to send them your way and I would like to take you up on that offer.

My sister-in-law was flying on Westjet Flight #2, Gatwick  to Calgary, on May 15, 2016.  Here are the details of the flight:  Her flight was delayed by almost 7 hours. She was never given a reason for the delay.

From reading your blog, I know that there are some very generous rules in the EU for compensation for flight delays, and I believe the rules are Regulation 261/2004.

Would the United Kingdom also follow these rules?

Are you able to tell the reason for the delay (I assume you probably have access to much better tools)?

Is my sister-in-law entitled to any compensation? What is your recommendation on how to proceed?

The EC 261/2004 compensation scheme applies for Community Carrier flights TO European Union and flights on all airlines FROM the European Union. The EC 261/2004 also applies for Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, although these countries are not members of the EU.

United Kingdom is part of European Union and the flight in question was from European Union albeit operated by Canadian airline WestJet. The EC 261/2004 does apply.

WestJet should have provided affected passengers care at the London Gatwick airport and given them a leaflet explaining their rights under this legislation.

If the flight was delayed by more than four hours, the passengers are eligible for 600 euro cash compensation each.

The airline is not required to provide compensation IF they are able to demonstrate that the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstance such as ash cloud. Mechanicals are not extraordinary issues as recently decided by the European court unless urgent fixes required by the airline manufacturer.

You should request your sister to contact WestJet by email or letter (written communication) and request EC 261/2004 compensation due to being delayed by more than four hours.

Airline may try to offer vouchers or other form of compensation but they are required to pay this in cash. 600 euros is roughly 873 Canadian dollars. The compensation is not linked to the price of the ticket your sister may have paid.

National Enforcement Bodies:

Download (PDF, 149KB)


WestJet will likely reply that the delay was caused by this and that, and thus the reader’s sister is not eligible for compensation. Most of the time the airlines are giving reasons that are not considered “extraordinary circumstances” by the European Union legislation.

If the airline doesn’t pay, your sister can open a case with the UK EC 261/2004 enforcement body that is Civil Aviation Authority.

There are also commercial business that handle these claims and usually take 30% to 40% cut of the successful settlement.

You need to do bit of legwork that will likely lead to 600 euro compensation after few rounds of emails/letters.