Delayed flights. Most frequent causes

Our flight being delayed is one of the most awful things that may happen when travelling, whether for leisure or business. Especially if we experience a lengthy wait. 

There are two conceivable outcomes: either we find out prior to boarding and must wait in the terminal, or we find out while we are already on the aircraft. Clearly, the former is superior. In the terminal, we can amuse ourselves or at the very least wait more comfortably. 

There are numerous factors that can delay a flight. The most typical ones are:

Lack of staff 

Currently, a common issue that affects the vast majority of airports is a staffing shortage. Both in airport services, police, and airlines… 

No matter how productive the crew is, this results in fewer people doing the same job, which causes delays. It is impossible to do the task in a timely manner when only two persons are involved. 

It even causes other issues like poor service quality. Things take time, and if you rush them, the outcome is frequently worse.


Staff strikes are one of the issues that occur the most frequently. 

As long as their demands are reasonable, they have the right to strike. They typically occur on significant days, like the start of the summer, when there is the most traffic. 

When an airline or airport’s ground staff goes on strike, the delays that result typically have an impact on both the airport and passengers travelling to and from it. 

The largest issue is when strike action is called by air traffic controllers from a “transit” nation. At this point, even if it has nothing to do with it, it impacts all aviation traffic overflying that nation.  

Any link from the UK to Spain will be disrupted, for instance, if the strike occurs in France, will suffer these effects.

Poor weather. 

This is an unavoidable element. The plane won’t be able to take off or land if the weather is really severe at either the airport of origin or the airport of destination. It is a security issue. 

The main issue we can run into in this situation is that the weather at the destination is getting worse as the plane is in flight. There are two choices in this situation.

Keep the aircraft in flight while waiting for the weather to improve. It will basically depend on the reserve fuel that the aircraft has to last more or less time in the air.

Send the plane to a nearby airport with good weather instead of the current one. 

Depending on the decision made, the delay in this situation will be considerably greater. Transfer the passengers on a bus and take them to the final airport. Or wait for the weather to clear and try again.

Delayed fligths


Although that is the least likely scenario, it is not impossible. It would be quite difficult for the planes to malfunction because they are thoroughly inspected and subjected to technical checks every few days. But it’s possible. In this scenario, you will have to wait for the plane to be fixed or for a different plane to become available for a prompt replacement in the event of an irreparable failure.

What about the hire car? 

Usually, if a car is reserved, it will be waiting for you when you get to your location. The workers of the car rental companies have access to a variety of apps to check aeroplane arrival times and potential delays (or early arrivals, which also happens more frequently). But it doesn’t harm to inform the business if you have the chance.

However, even if this is standard, it would be wise to understand the company’s policy before making a booking. If we are delayed for longer than a predetermined amount of time, even if it is not our fault, we might encounter some kind of restriction that could result in us losing the booking, especially with huge or “low-cost” companies. And this is truer than ever when cars are short. 

With local companies like ours, you won’t ever run into that issue; you’ll always have access to your car, regardless of when you arrive.

Can I complain?

You can click on this link to learn more about your rights as a passenger (in Spain) and how to file a complaint. 



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