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Connecting Emirates flight EC261 Claim denied

  • OutWardTravel

    On our journey from LHR to BKK via DXB last month, our flight departed 30mins late from LHR. We ended up landing in Dubai around 9am (We should have arrived at 8:05am), and our connecting flight was at 9:40am.

    We get off the flight and there are Emirates staff in the airport directing people on connecting flights to their gates. We rush to our gate as people are still boarding. The gate agent swipes our boarding passes and it flashes red and she says that we will not be able to board this flight. We ask why and she said that our luggage will not make it in time. We asked if we could board without our luggage and she said that it would be illegal for our bags to fly separately. We’re told we have to go to the Emirates connection desk to get rebooked on the next flight. People who were behind us in line were able to board, so I’m assuming those are people who were not on connecting flights.

    We get to the desk and there is a massive queue of people who have missed connections. I connected to WIFI and see that I received an email from Emirates that arrived 58 minutes before the DXB to BKK flight was due to depart saying that we have be been booked onto flights for the next day at 3am (17hrs later) and that they are sorry for the inconvenience.

    We eventually get to speak with the desk after queuing nearly 4hrs and they said there were no earlier flights and eventually gave us a hotel to rest in until our next flight. We didn’t make it to Bangkok until 20hrs after our original flight time.

    I wrote to Emirates requesting EC261 compensation and they said that our flight departing Heathrow departed 32 minutes late as they had to de-ice to the plane and this caused us to miss our connecting flight. They said this was extraordinary circumstances so my claim is not valid.

    I replied back and said that we made it to the gate on time and we already had our boarding passes printed at Heathrow, so had they not rebooked our flight before we landed then we would have made the flight. I also mentioned a few other things about the bad service we received during the LHR to DXB flight. They then offered us a goodwill gesture of 20,000 Skyward miles each but have said that is their final position.

    I’d just like opinions to see if people think Emirates are correct in this case to deny our claim.


    Having to de-ice a plane is not extraordinary circumstances – I think this has even been specifically ruled on in the past. The connection must have been really tight for you to miss your next flight due to a 30 minute delay. I’m assuming you were travelling on one booking, which would make Emirates liable for delay compensation. I have no idea how easy it is to deal with them at CEDR/MCOL though!


    You need to find out the exact reason for delay either via Expertflyer or Flightradar, but these are kept for 72 hours or via Heathrow Operations which can take a long time to get. If de-icing was accompanied by bad weather then it might be extraordinary circumstance in which case no compensation. If it was just de-icing then compensation is due. Emirates lost ECJ case precisely on the same route. Emirates does not subscribe to CEDR, so MCOL only option.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 6 months ago by .

    I’m sure there will be weather records online – temps were around freezing up here at the start of last month but it felt warmer at LHR!

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 6 months ago by .

    Thank you Northern Lass and meta.

    The flights were all in under one booking purchases directly with Emirates. However re-reading emirates response they have also said the previous flight from Dubai to Heathrow was delayed because of security checks and air traffic control issues and then once at Heathrow they had to de-ice the plane.

    We were supposed to arrive into Dubai at 8:05am and our connecting flight was for 9:40am.

    I’ve included the first email response to my complaint below.

    Although every effort is made to operate aircraft according to planned schedules, there are rare occasions when these have to be changed due to operational or commercial requirements, or other unforeseen circumstances. Our records reflect that the aircraft which was scheduled to operate this flight was delayed from Dubai due to mandatory security checks and Air Traffic Control restrictions. To exacerbate the situation, the flight was further delayed from London Heathrow to de-ice the aircraft and departed 32 minutes late. Regrettably, this caused you to miss your onward flight to Bangkok and you were therefore rebooked to travel on flight EK378 on 02 April. Of course, I do appreciate your disappointment and the inconvenience that you were pout through.

    I acknowledge your claim for compensation pursuant to Article 5 of Regulation (EC) 261/2004, as amended and incorporated into English law by Regulation 8 of the Air Passenger Rights (APR) and Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulation 2019 (APR Regulations, as amended the Amended Regulation). Passengers are now able to claim for compensation for delayed flights where the delay to the arrival is more than three hours and if the delay was not due to extraordinary circumstances which were beyond an airline’s control. As the delay to your flight was beyond our control and is considered as ‘extraordinary’ we are unable to meet your request.

    They didn’t mention anything about us arriving at the gate while passengers were still boarding and being denied boarding so I wrote back to them and got the below response.

    Of course, I can understand your frustration when you arrived at the departure gate of your original flight prior to departure, however, as the flight had closed for check-in prior to your arrival and you had been already proactively rebooked, it was not possible to reopen a flight for check-in at this point as the final load sheet and preparations for departure have already been finalised. This situation would not be construed as denied boarding and therefore compensation under APR regulations does not apply. However, to bring this matter to a more amicable close, I have credited your Skywards accounts with 20,000 complimentary each.


    I don’t see how mandatory security checks could be classed as extraordinary circumstances – air traffic control restrictions just sounds as though they might have missed the initial take off slot but you’d need more specific information on all that.

    probably knows better than me, but would EC261 qpply to denied boarding at DXB?


    I believe a regional court in Germany has ruled that aeroplane de-icing is in scope for compensation for EC261. Their reasoning is that although the weather may be an extraordinary factor out of the airline’s control de-icing is an operational decision that can be controlled.

    Given that Emirates has confirmed that a mandatory security check issue in Dubai delayed the plane on its inbound flight to Heathrow I would argue that Emirates would have known that the weather would require the outbound flight to be de-iced and therefore it is within Emirate’s control to arrange de-icing such that it would not delay the aircraft further.

    I note that they have given you and your travel companion 20,000 skywards miles each as a goodwill gesture. That is nice but should not stop you pursuing EC261 compensation if you want to.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 6 months ago by .

    Late arriving aircraft is not extraordinary circumstance and neither is de-icing per se. De-icing is only considered extraordinary if the weather is so extreme that third-party supplies have run out and new ones need to be brought in.


    as @AJA said, under article 15 of EC261 you can pursue higher compensation, the court may or may not consider monetary value 20k in their award. I would argue that you would be entitled to keep it because they tried to wriggle out of compensation and tried to deny you your rights which caused you stress, etc. But the court may well decide they have £200 monetary value for example and lower the final cost.

    I’d send a well-drafted letter before action to Emirates’ UK address and see what they say. You can Google ec261/de-icing+late arriving aircraft and quote all the relevant articles and cases in the LBA. State you will take legal action if they don’t give you X amount of compensation within 21 days which may involve further costs including legal fees and statutory interest.

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 6 months ago by .

    Thank you for all your replies. I’ll send Emirates a letter telling them that de-icing is not an extraordinary circumstance and letting them know that I’ll be taking legal action if they do not comply with EC261 within 21 days.

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