Airlines using 'bad weather' as an excuse to cancel flights

Old Mar 1, 17, 5:03 am
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Airlines using 'bad weather' as an excuse to cancel flights

This isn't specific to KLM but as I fly with them all the time I am posting this here.

Last month my flight from MUC to AMS was cancelled due to bad weather. The flight was off-peak and was cancelled over a day in advance and way before the weather had returned to normal.

Perhaps I'm being cynical but are there any kind of audits or checks to ensure that the reasons given for cancelling flights are valid and genuine? I have had several flights cancelled due to bad weather over the years even when the weather seemed fine. I get that flying conditions are not restricted to take-off and landing weather but my feeling is that some airlines are mis-using the bad weather excuse and using it as an opportunity to cancel half empty flights or they hide behind the bad weather excuse if they encounter operational or technical issues.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by Saint4805 View Post
This isn't specific to KLM but as I fly with them all the time I am posting this here.

Last month my flight from MUC to AMS was cancelled due to bad weather. The flight was off-peak and was cancelled over a day in advance and way before the weather had returned to normal.

Perhaps I'm being cynical but are there any kind of audits or checks to ensure that the reasons given for cancelling flights are valid and genuine? I have had several flights cancelled due to bad weather over the years even when the weather seemed fine. I get that flying conditions are not restricted to take-off and landing weather but my feeling is that some airlines are mis-using the bad weather excuse and using it as an opportunity to cancel half empty flights or they hide behind the bad weather excuse if they encounter operational or technical issues.
In case of anticipated bat weather or other serious disruption, ATC can ask airlines to cancel a proportion of their scheduled flights to cope with the expected reduction in traffic flows. When this happens, the airline has no choice but to cancel flights.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 5:16 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
In case of anticipated bat weather or other serious disruption, ATC can ask airlines to cancel a proportion of their scheduled flights to cope with the expected reduction in traffic flows. When this happens, the airline has no choice but to cancel flights.
OK thanks for clarifying. I guess it's understandable if they cancel the flights with less passengers and there is a backlog of passengers stranded at the airport.

Bit unfortunate for those who happen to be booked on such flights who will have no right to compensation.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 5:35 am
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Originally Posted by Saint4805 View Post
OK thanks for clarifying. I guess it's understandable if they cancel the flights with less passengers and there is a backlog of passengers stranded at the airport.

Bit unfortunate for those who happen to be booked on such flights who will have no right to compensation.
Yes, but that situation is well and truly not the fault of the airline so it's also not reasonable to demand compensation imo. Of course they still need to get you where you were going asap.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 5:43 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
In case of anticipated bat weather or other serious disruption, ATC can ask airlines to cancel a proportion of their scheduled flights to cope with the expected reduction in traffic flows. When this happens, the airline has no choice but to cancel flights.
Exactly, ATC asks airlines to reduce the number of flights. (And I believe when this is the case, it is published for everyone to see). It is however entirely the choice of the airline which flights to cancel. Can the airline argue that, cancellation of Your flight was beyond their control?
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Old Mar 1, 17, 6:13 am
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Originally Posted by CyBeR View Post
Yes, but that situation is well and truly not the fault of the airline so it's also not reasonable to demand compensation imo. Of course they still need to get you where you were going asap.
Understand that. What I'm saying it's unfortunate for those who could be stranded for longer and will have no right to claim anything just because they happen to be booked on a flight that has plenty empty seats.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 6:13 am
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Presumably you are talking about this weather incident, where the very topic of prior cancellations was discussed...

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/klm-f...ry-2017-a.html
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Old Mar 1, 17, 6:18 am
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
Presumably you are talking about this weather incident, where the very topic of prior cancellations was discussed...

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/klm-f...ry-2017-a.html
No, different storm. My flight from MUC to AMS was cancelled around 4 weeks ago.

Last edited by Saint4805; Mar 1, 17 at 6:23 am
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Old Mar 1, 17, 6:18 am
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I have stated a similar question earlier. Why I do understand in these cases airlines may be required to reduce capacity, the decision which flights to cancel are mostly operational; which flights are most important to operate/which cancellations affect the least passenger etc. . I agree it is not clear in these cases if the cancellation of a specific flight can be fully attributed to the weather.
While I appreciate the proactiveness of the airline in cases of expected storm, in case the weather is not as bad as was predicted passengers could still be affected by a cancellation the day before.
I think this kind of situation should go to court to determine to which extent (expected) bad weather and subsequent proactive cancellation of some flights constitute extraordinary circumstances which free airlines from paying compensation.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 6:26 am
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I don't know if airlines are subject to audits that check their handling of such situations but it should help keep them on their toes and ensure that any decision making on which flights to cancel and the reasons given to passengers are valid and fair.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 8:22 am
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In my opinion it is quite clear.

The airline has all data and is using the data to make a decision about which flight is cancelled. (I expect they are very good at minimizing loss of revenue however they decide to do the accounting).

Is this exactly the same as minimizing inconvenience to passengers?
I suspect it is not.

Originally Posted by KLflyerRalph View Post
I have stated a similar question earlier. Why I do understand in these cases airlines may be required to reduce capacity, the decision which flights to cancel are mostly operational; which flights are most important to operate/which cancellations affect the least passenger etc. . I agree it is not clear in these cases if the cancellation of a specific flight can be fully attributed to the weather.
While I appreciate the proactiveness of the airline in cases of expected storm, in case the weather is not as bad as was predicted passengers could still be affected by a cancellation the day before.
I think this kind of situation should go to court to determine to which extent (expected) bad weather and subsequent proactive cancellation of some flights constitute extraordinary circumstances which free airlines from paying compensation.
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Old Mar 1, 17, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by q View Post
In my opinion it is quite clear.

The airline has all data and is using the data to make a decision about which flight is cancelled. (I expect they are very good at minimizing loss of revenue however they decide to do the accounting).

Is this exactly the same as minimizing inconvenience to passengers?
I suspect it is not.
Usually, I think so. The inconvenience to a passenger who is flying a long-haul that operates once a day is far greater than the inconvenience to a passenger who can be rebooked the same day. At the same time that passenger who can be rebooked the same day doesn't need a hotel, transportation to said hotel meal vouchers, etc. (possibly for multiple days if it's a non-daily flight). Instead, they can just arrive at the airport at a different time.

Of course if you have a daily flight with 50 pax on it, it may be financially more prudent to cancel that and not have to rebook 150 pax on a shorter flight but I don't expect that is a common situation with KL at least.
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