Air France Flight - Am I eligible for EU Compensation?

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Oct 25, 2017
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A few months ago, I booked a round trip flight from Berlin to Tokyo. My return flight to Berlin consisted of a 1.5 layover in Paris so Tokyo -> Paris -> Berlin.

A few hours before my departure from Tokyo to Paris, I received an email that my flight from Tokyo to Paris would be delayed an hour so I would miss my Paris to Berlin flight. The flight to Berlin was the last flight of the night and they told me I would have to stay a night in Paris and catch the 7:30 am flight from Paris to Berlin.

I politely informed them that I have no desire to stay a night in Paris and to wake up at 4:30 am in the morning to catch a flight to Berlin. I asked them to just rebook me on the same flights but the following day and pay for my hotel room in Tokyo. They did not agree to my original terms but after politely explaining to them my situation, they rebooked me on the next day flight to Paris and Berlin.

My question is, am I eligible to receive the EU delay / cancellation compensation here? I messaged Air France and they told me the following:

"Please note, that Air Traffic Control's restrictions are a circumstance wholly beyond our scope of influence and therefore cannot be considered a situation where compensation would be due. "

I don't agree with that. Seems like they are just providing me with a vague reason to not have to provide me with compensation. However, I know nothing about this policy and could be wrong. What should I do here? Thank you.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Although I assume that the one hour delay was caused by the plane flying into HND since I received the email about 10 hours before I was supposed to depart HND.

Is there a way to check? I really think they are just giving me this vague reason so they do not have to compensate me.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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Assuming it was an inbound aircraft that was delayed, then it really comes down to what delayed that aircraft, and how fast Air France recovered from its delay. If the incoming plane was ready to go, but held on the ground by ATC at its origin airport for whatever reason (weather, local airport congestion, etc.), then that qualifies as an extraordinary circumstance. If the delay on the inbound was due to something that the airline can control (i.e. staffing, maintenance, etc.), then there's no exemption. Second question is, even if the inbound delay was due to an extraordinary circumstance, how quickly could Air France be reasonably expected to recover. If this was an A320 flight coming into CDG, then a quick recovery would be reasonable (common aircraft, at their hub). If this was the only aircraft of its type coming into a remote station (sounds like this was the case), then not having the ability to swap aircraft to get the outbound flight out on time doesn't sound unreasonable.

Bottom line, this case sounds pretty tough to me. You might want to consider consulting with one of the firms that handle these cases professionally, and get their read on it. They take a percentage of anything you recover (20%, as I recall), but 80% of €600 is better than 100% of nothing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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Thank you for your post and explanation. I'll go ahead and contact one of these firms - do you have any recommendations?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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It looks like the planes left Paris close to schedule.

Wasn’t this right before Typhoon Trami hit Japan?

I think there were Air Traffic Control issues with the heavy winds and rains as the Typhoon came to Japan.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Typhoon No 24 as it was called in Japan caused to the airlines and air traffic control operators to start announcing delays on September 28 2018

An approaching typhoon does sound like a credible reason for ATC to reduce capacity.
 
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Likes: Just A Guy
Jul 27, 2016
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Thank you for your post and explanation. I'll go ahead and contact one of these firms - do you have any recommendations?
I haven't personally used any of the services, so I can't make any specific recommendations. Airhelp is an underwriter of elliott.org (although that's not an endorsement of them by elliott.org), and their site lets you enter your flight details and get an assessment of whether you have a claim. This article lists several other services: https://thepointsguy.com/2017/11/ec-261-services-can-get-airlines-to-pay-for-delays/
 
Apr 1, 2018
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I haven't personally used any of the services, so I can't make any specific recommendations. Airhelp is an underwriter of elliott.org (although that's not an endorsement of them by elliott.org), and their site lets you enter your flight details and get an assessment of whether you have a claim. This article lists several other services: https://thepointsguy.com/2017/11/ec-261-services-can-get-airlines-to-pay-for-delays/
I just got a refund using Airhelp. They charge 30% so, in dollars, my portion of the refund was $506. This was for a Norwegian flight that was cancelled 26 hours before flight time. Norwegian refunded my money, but the additional reimbursement certainly helps to offset the hassle of getting on another flight during the same time frame. Airhelp was easy to use and I recommend them.
 
Oct 25, 2017
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I just got a refund using Airhelp. They charge 30% so, in dollars, my portion of the refund was $506. This was for a Norwegian flight that was cancelled 26 hours before flight time. Norwegian refunded my money, but the additional reimbursement certainly helps to offset the hassle of getting on another flight during the same time frame. Airhelp was easy to use and I recommend them.
That's great to hear and glad you were able to get a refund.

I actually started my claim a few weeks after the delay and it is still ongoing. The airline has told us that there was issues out of their control and that they are not required to reimburse me. The company that I am using has forwarded the claim to a law firm who is now handling it and I should have an outcome hopefully by the end of the month.
 
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