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Had a Tough Trip Last Year? You’re Not Alone: 2018 was a Record Year for Flight Disruptions

By Jaqueline Junginger | Last updated on

Lost luggage at airport

We know we talk about flight disruption a lot, but 2018 was an especially bad year for air passengers, as they faced an unprecedented number of flight disruptions. Last year over 10 million air passengers experienced nightmare flight delays and cancellations — that’s a new record.

In New Zealand alone, a little over 72,000 passengers were affected and eligible for compensation under EC 261. The average on-time performance for all airports in New Zealand was only 77.81%.

A Hectic Holiday Season

Figures peaked in December when more than 158 flights were either cancelled or delayed. AirHelp has estimated that more than 66,000 passengers were affected.

The holiday months were especially chaotic and hectic, with many air passengers having to spend hours at the airport while waiting for their flights to be rebooked or rerouted.

If you have a tight schedule because you are travelling for work or have hotels and scheduled tours booked at your destination, lengthy delays could mean missing appointments or losing your reservation. Flight delays affect more than just your flight — it has an impact beyond the airport.

A Record Year in Flight Disruptions

Stressed traveler
Image by Quinn on Pixabay

2018 was a record year in terms of flight disruptions — every day, an average of 200 NZ travellers experienced a delay or cancellation. In fact, 1 out of 5 flights was affected by some form of disruption, including cancellations and delays of 15 minutes or more.

The disruption was in part due to multiple airline staff strikes that happened last year. On top of this, an increase in air passengers put a strain on airports, which had to operate with limited traffic capacity.

Paloma Salmeron Plannels, a spokesperson at AirHelp says:

“2018 will go down in history as a year that pushed the airline industry to the maximum. The events unfolding have proved that there is much work to do and there is a long way to go to make airlines prioritize passenger law. We have seen a big increase in inquiries, and there is clearly a need for AirHelp to fight to provide passengers with information and to help them get their legitimate compensation”.

Flight delays happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You may be entitled to a much as €600 in compensation. If your flight was delayed, cancelled, or overbooked within the last three years.

Feature image by Stela Di