Your flight is rerouted… What does rerouting mean in aviation?
When an airline changes its planned route for a flight, it is called rerouting. This can happen because of bad weather, problems with the airplane, or even because of politics in the country where the plane was going to land. In any of these cases, airlines must make quick decisions to ensure passenger safety and comfort while still getting them to their destination as quickly as possible.
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1. What Does Rerouting Mean for You? What If That Badly Affects Your Travel Plans?
In short — you are landing in a different airport.
Flight rerouting can often result in delays and detours but it’s ultimately done for the greater good of passengers on board. Speaking of delays at the destination, if you are traveling to or from Europe, you are protected by law.
According to UK / EU flight compensation regulation, the airline has to take you to your destination. No matter what. It also has to take care of you, if you have to spend more time at the airport than planned. And there are specific rules regarding missed connecting flights (if rerouting makes you miss a flight) – very often you can a new flight for free, often – a new flight and compensation.
When it comes to air passenger rights, unless otherwise stated, we talk about air passenger rights in the EU, EEA and UK. When we say Europe or European, we mean EU, EEA or UK. This is done for the simplicity, since the according laws in these countries are about the same.
1.1 Rerouting Flight Compensation
Your flight was rerouted, and you arrived late.
Or, maybe you missed a connecting flight, and arrived late to your destination. In both situations, as long as it wasn’t due to something unavoidable (as long as it was due to airline’s fault), you may have a right to flight delay compensation.
As long as it’s a 3+ hour flight delay at the destination.
With European airlines these rules apply to all their flights. With non-European airlines like Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways — only to flights from Europe.
1.2 Right to Care (Free Food, Free Hotel)
There are situations, when you will have right to care from the airline. Not because of the rerouting of your flight itself, but because of resulting flight delay / missed connecting flight, etc. For example, if you miss a connecting flight due to rerouting, and now have to wait at the airport for the next flight, the airline has to take care of you. In short:
- If you have to wait 3+ hours, you have a right to a meal.
- If you have to wait overnight, you have a right to free hotel room and free airport transfer. It’s airline’s responsibility to take care of you.
Here we are talking about air passenger rights in Europe. With European airlines these rules apply to all their flights. With non-European airlines — only to their flights from the European Union, EEA and UK.
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2. Why Does Flight Rerouting Happen?
As already mentioned, there are a lot of possibilities.
This can happen due to reasons such as extreme weather conditions, air traffic control, maintenance, security issues at the airport, or operational issues.
3. Rerouted Flight. Diverted Flight. It’s the Same Thing
No matter how you call it — it’s the same thing.
Have you ever experienced that? Has your flight ever been rerouted? How did the airline solve that? Did they offer you assistance in getting to your destination? Did you get flight compensation if you arrived 3+ hours late?