Flight diversion due to night flight ban: Your rights - Flightright UK

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Flight diversion due to night flight ban: These are your rights!

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Night flight ban: This situation is anything but fun. Flights are supposed to be safe, on time, and comfortable – but sometimes it happens that night flight bans are on the itinerary. Due to a night ban, your plane is no longer allowed to land at the destination airport and is diverted. This means that airlines have to find alternative routes to get their passengers to their destinations. In this blog post (article), we will take an in-depth look at the background and possible effects of the night flight ban.

When is the night flight ban?

The night flight ban normally occurs from 10 pm to 6 am. At these times, aircraft operations around the area where the ban applies are kept to a minimum. However, there are exceptions – some countries allow short daylight flights or flights for medical emergencies.

If the aircraft does not land where it should

If the plane does not land where it is supposed to, the airline must think about alternative routes. In such cases, the company may first try to extend the original flight plan and select a safer route if possible. However, if such a course is not possible, the airline must consider other options. This could require the use of a larger plan to get several passengers to their destination, or emergency diversions. In such cases, the affected passengers can arrange alternative transport or must rebook the flight.

What happens when night flights are banned?

When night flights are banned, the use of aircraft in the vicinity of the area where the ban applies is reduced to a minimum. As a rule, the night flight ban exists between 10 pm and 6 am. However, this restriction can vary, depending on the location. Some cities have much stricter bans than others. However, there are already some exceptions to the night ban, such as less legally coordinated flights during daylight hours or medical emergencies.

Passenger rights in the event of a diversion – night flight ban

Am I entitled to compensation in this case? In some cases, passengers may be entitled to compensation if they have been diverted due to a night flight ban. However, it depends on whether the diversion is due to a technical or other problem outside the airline’s control. If this is the case, in many countries there is a right to compensation under EU air passenger rights. However, if you are delayed due to a night flight ban, compensation is not automatically payable. If you arrive at least 3 hours later than planned, your wallet might be happy. Passengers should check with their airline’s customer service department for more details.

How much compensation can I get for a delay due to a night flight ban?

Depending on the length of the route (flight distance), different amounts of compensation may be due: Up to 1,500 kilometers it is 250 euros, from 1,500 to 3,500 kilometers 400 euros, and from 3,500 kilometers 600 euros.

Attention: No compensation in case of delay/cancellation due to extraordinary circumstances. Examples of such extraordinary situations may include:

  • Bad weather (severe weather) delayed the flight
  • Closure of the airport or airspace (airport closure)
  • Air traffic control strikes
  • A natural disaster
  • Terrorist acts or bomb threats 

As these events are beyond the airline’s control, they cannot be held liable for the costs incurred. For this reason, they often carry the familiar designation of “force majeure”.

Exceptional circumstances do not include:

  • Illness of the crew
  • Operational reasons (e.g. from the beginning the flight was scheduled too close to the start of the night flight ban)
  • A technical defect in the aircraft 

Which airports have a night flight ban?

Many airports in the European Union have a night flight ban. These include, for example, most major airports such as London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Frankfurt am Main. Depending on the state government, other airports may also have a ban on night flights. Although restrictions vary between countries, the general rule in the EU is that no flights are allowed between 10 pm and 06 am.

night flight ban

Have you experienced a flight delay /
flight cancellation / rebooking?

According to the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation, the amount of compensation is calculated according to the flight route (distance):

Short distance up to 1500 kmMedium distance up to 3500 kmLong distance from 3500 km
e.g. London – Edinburghe.g. London – Athense.g. London – Tokyo
250€400€600€

Where are night flights banned in Germany?

At most German airports (Airports) there are severe operating restrictions, up to and including absolute night flight bans. In Germany, there is a general ban on night flights between 11 pm and 5 am. However, some airports have a complete or only partial ban on night flights. Düsseldorf Airport and Stuttgart Airport, for example, have a complete ban on night flights. Frankfurt Airport, however, has only a partial night flight ban and special terrain restrictions for certain areas. The night flight ban at Cologne-Bonn also applies from 11.00 pm to 5.00 am.

At Frankfurt Airport, an absolute ban on night flights has been in force between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. since 2011. At Cologne-Bonn, Frankfurt-Hahn, Nuremberg, and Hanover airports, there is no ban on night flights (although there are some restrictions for particularly noisy aircraft types). 

Night flight bans at selected German airports:

AirportsRegulationExceptions
LübeckRestriction of night flights from 11:30 pm to 05:30 pmnone
HamburgRestriction of night flights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.Night mail flights
Delayed take-offs and landings until midnight
BremenRestriction of night flights from 10:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.Night mail flights
Delayed landings until 12 am if Chapter 3 aircraft and home carrier
Berlin-Schönefeld (now BER)No night flight restrictions Between 12 am and 6:00 am for Chapter 3 aircraft only.
Berlin Brandenburg AirportRestriction of night flights from 11.30 pm to 05.30 amDelayed take-offs and landings until 12 am and early landings from 5 am.
HannoverNo night flight restrictions Between 11 pm and 6 am for Chapter 3 aircraft only.
Münster/OsnabrückNo night flight restrictions Between 10 pm and 6 am for Chapter 3 aircraft only.
Paderborn/LippstadtNo night flight restrictions none
NiederrheinRestriction of night flights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.Delayed landings until 12 am hrs when Chapter 3 aircraft and Home Carrier
DortmundRestriction of night flights from 10 pm to 6 amLate take-offs until 10.30 pm and late landings until 11.30 pm
DüsseldorfRestriction of night flights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.Chapter 3 aircraft scheduled landings until 11 pm and delayed landings until 11.30 pm.
Delayed landings by home carriers until 12 am and early landings from 5:00 am.
Köln/BonnNo night flight restrictions Between 10 pm and 6 am for Chapter 3 aircraft only.
Leipzig/HalleRestriction of night flights in passenger traffic from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
None Night flight restriction for cargo traffic
Delayed take-offs and landings until 12 am and early landings from 5 am.
DresdenRestriction of night flights from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.Delayed take-offs and landings until 11 pm, and early landings from 5 am.
Erfurt/WeimarNo night flight restrictions Between 10 pm and 6 am for Chapter 3 aircraft only.
FrankfurtRestriction of night flights from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.Delayed take-offs and landings until 12 am
Frankfurt-HahnNo night flight restrictions Between 10 pm and 6 am for Chapter 3 aircraft only.
SaarbrückenRestriction of night flights from 10:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.Delayed landings until 11 pm
Karlsruhe/Baden-BadenRestriction of night flights from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.Delayed landings until 12 am only for Chapter 3 aircraft
StuttgartRestriction of night flights from 11 pm to 6 am for take-offsLandings until 11.30 pm
Night mail flights and military aircraft movements
FriedrichshafenRestriction of night flights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.Landings up to 11 pm if Chapter 3 aircraft and home carrier.
Delayed landings until 11.30 pm if home carrier
NürnbergNo night flight restrictions Night operations between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. only for Chapter 3 aircraft
MemmingenRestriction of night flights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.none
MünchenRestriction of night flights from 12 am a.m. to 5:00 a.m.Night mail flights
Delayed take-offs and landings until 12 am and early landings from 5 am.
In the night marginal hours (from 10 pm to 12 am and from 5 am to 6 am) only for Chapter 3 aircraft.
Night flight ban in Germany. Source: Wikipedia

When is the night ban at Frankfurt Airport?

When is the night ban in Frankfurt? Frankfurt Airport has an absolute ban on night flights that lasts from 11:30 pm to 5:00 am. There are also special terrain restrictions for certain areas of the airport. However, exceptions are allowed. The background to this was complaints about aircraft noise to protect human health.

Why do so many planes fly at night?

There are many reasons why airlines fly at night. Among the most common reasons are tighter control of air traffic, reduced air pollution, and lower noise levels. There is usually less traffic in the sky in the early morning hours than during the day. In addition, weather conditions are usually calmer during the night, allowing for a more stable flight.

Are night flights dangerous?

Night flights are just as safe as day flights, as the safety standards for all flights meet the same high requirements. However, the risk of crashing increases at night due to lower visibility and navigation. To minimize this risk, pilots must be particularly well-trained to navigate at night.

Are night flights better?

Whether night flights are better than day flights is a controversial question. Night flights have both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include tax savings, a more flexible schedule for passengers and cargo, less pollution, and less noise. However, due to poor visibility and lower pilot concentration levels, night flights can also be riskier. Therefore, all safety measures must be strictly followed before any night flight. All in all, it is not possible to decide conclusively whether night or day flights are better.

Conclusion: night flight bans

There is a ban on night flights in Germany, which is enshrined in law by a ruling of the Federal Administrative Court. Since then, take-offs and landings have been banned from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. In addition to protecting nighttime peace, it is hoped that the ban will also protect against noise and reduce environmental pollution. This measure is supported, among other things, by a study by the Aircraft Noise Commission, which was able to prove lower exhaust emissions compared to daytime flight operations.

The night flight ban is a controversial decision, and there has been much debate about it recently. Some courts, such as the VGH Kassel, have ruled that night flight bans are lawful if they are part of the regular flight schedule. However, other courts, such as the Federal Administrative Court, have ruled that it is not legal to impose a general ban on night flights. The results of these decisions also showed the need for a compromise between the interest groups, air traffic, and residents. 

The Aircraft Noise Commission therefore finally proposed the mediation night as an alternative to pure night flight restrictions. Overall, the discussion on how to deal with the issue of night flights provides valuable insights into the regulation of air traffic and emphasizes the importance of handling issues and human rights in the operational restriction of aircraft movement.

Although the ban on night flights minimizes health risks and reduces noise nuisance and environmental pollution, the progressive increase in air traffic and the associated demand for more flexibility and efficiency are strongly opposed to compliance with this rule. Ultimately, everyone concerned must decide for themselves what advantages a night flight ban has for them or what impairment it causes them.

How can Flightright help you?

You are stuck at the airport because of a flight delay? Your flight has been canceled, or you have been removed from the passenger list? In each of the situations described, you have a right to compensation as an air passenger.

Tip: Flightright helps you enforce your air passenger rights! With us, you can check your claims free of charge in two minutes. ✔️Easy, ✔️fast & without ✔️risk

According to the EU Passenger Rights Regulation, passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of a delay, cancellation, overbooking, or missed connection. You can claim up to 600 euros of compensation per person (minus commission fee). This compensation is independent of the ticket price. Flightright enforces your right for you. If necessary also in court.

As experts on the subject of air passenger rights, we enforce your right to compensation against the airline! Flightright’s air passenger rights experts are also happy to help you with ticket reimbursements

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