Why Is My Flight Delayed? | 9 Common Reasons For Flight Delays


Last Updated on Mar 15th, 2024 by Renu Dahiya, Leave a Comment

Any traveler who has ever seen the dreaded ‘FLIGHT DELAYED’ message appear on their next number immediately starts glancing nervously at the time. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, be calm and record the delay time of an aircraft accurately. We hereby explain to you the various reasons why flights are delayed and give the perfect answers to your questions ‘Why is my flight delayed?’, how to check if flight is delayed, what to do in this situation, how to get compensation for the same, why do flights get delayed so often & many more.

So, let’s get started!

9 Common Reasons Why Flights Are Delayed

If you have just discovered that your flight has been delayed and are wondering why do flights get delayed, here are some of the possible reasons why flight is delayed – 

1. Air Traffic Control Restrictions

From the last decade, air passenger traffic has grown tremendously which means a lot of airplanes in the skies carrying a lot of people at any given point. If you wonder ‘Why was my flight delayed or Will I get compensation’, please note that you are not eligible for flight delay compensation if your flight was delayed or canceled due to air traffic restrictions. 

2. Bird Strikes

A flight can be delayed as a result of a bird strike. It is a collision between an aircraft and an airborne animal. As per the reports, there are on average about 13,000 bird strikes per year in the United States of America alone. And most of these strikes happen during takeoff and landing. Security protocol requires airlines to perform a particular set of procedures following a bird strike, which may affect its on-time performance. So, this might be the reason why are flights getting delayed.

3. Boarding Connecting Passengers

In some cases, the flight may slightly get delayed in order to board connecting passengers. But, the airlines don’t wait for connecting passengers in all cases, it depends on a case by case. For example – If there are no other passengers who will be impacted and won’t miss their connection, or if the bags of the connecting passengers have been already loaded and unloading them will take longer than the anticipated wait time for them to board, then the officials may decide to wait for them. 

4. Adverse Weather Conditions

Dangerous weather conditions are often cited as one of the main reasons why do flights get delayed, but they are not as common as most travelers think. That is because even if the weather does not appear to be optimal, it is not a given that the flight cannot be operated on time. So, when we speak of adverse weather conditions impacting the performance of the flight, we are mostly talking about extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, etc.

5. Security Clearance

There are a lot of things that have gone in preparation for each and every step and that will determine whether or not the airport can take off on time. Airline dispatch and operations control will decide and plan the route, that the plane will take, considering the weather conditions, passenger load, fuel capacity, etc. These security requirements might be one of the reasons for plane delays. 

6. Preparing The Aircraft

The preparation of the aircraft for take-off begins as soon as it lands from its previous route. And, there are many reasons for flight delays that affect its take-off time. Something as simple as not having the aircraft cleaned on time because of a lack of staff could have an impact on the boarding time, which can result in a flight missing its slot. 

7. Complying With Weight Restrictions

Every aircraft has to comply with the weight restrictions or Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW). It is the combined weight of cargo, flyers & their luggage, fuel, catering, etc. If a plane exceeds that weight, it cannot take off. And, the weight number is not constant, it completely depends on things like atmospheric conditions and elevation. It is yet another main reason for flight delays, or even worse – a boarding denial. 

8. Unruly Passengers

Sometimes, it is just someone else’s fault that your flight gets delayed, for example, two other passengers got into a heated discussion with each other or with the crew. Every now and then, a passenger might simply refuse to be downgraded or check his or her cabin bag. You never know what will happen, but there are some crazy stories out there. 

9. Airport Or Airlines Staff Strike

Just like many other industries, airline staff can decide to go on a strike for several reasons such as to leverage labor power and enter into negotiations with their employer. These strikes can impact the departure time of the flight and be one of the main causes of flight delays. 

How To Find Out Why A Flight Is Delayed?

First and foremost find out the reasons why flights are delayed. You can check the FAA’s flight delay website, which shows airport-wide delays affecting major U.S. airports in real-time along with the reasons, for a better estimate of how long you’ll have to wait.

How To Find Out Why A Flight Is Delayed

Note – The FAA’s website sometimes offers its own estimates of delay durations, but it’s important to remember that these are just estimates. If you’re already at the airport, you can also inquire directly with the gate agent for more information.

How To See If Flight Is Delayed?

Flights are often delayed or canceled at the last minute. But, by checking the status of your flight before leaving for the airport you will have a solid hint on whether your flight is delayed or not. So, always keep a track of your flight and check the status from time to time. The best place to keep up to date on the status of your flight with real-time information is via the ‘Flight Status Tracker’ tool. You just need to enter the information about your flight and you will get all the updates on your flight within seconds. 

If you have booked the following flights you can directly check the flight status and schedule on the below links – 

  • Check the status of UA829, a United Airlines flight from Newark (EWR) to Mumbai (BOM) here.
  • Check the status of AA292, an American Airlines flight from New York (JFK) to Delhi (DEL) here.
  • Check the status of AI104, an Air India flight from Washington (IAD) to Delhi (DEL) here.

Also, you can check the status of your flight on the official website of the airline and airport both. 

Tips To Know Your Flight-Delay Status In Advance

You can consider the following tips for when you want to know in advance the causes of delayed flights or cancelled –

  • Check the status of other flights departing from or arriving at the airport. Are most of the flights delayed or canceled? If yes, then there are big chances that yours will be delayed too. 
  • Keep a track of the weather condition at your airport and arrival airports. If there is any news regarding unusual or dangerous weather conditions such as heavy rain, winds, thunderstorms, etc., then high are the chances for your flight to be delayed.
  • Check out the situation at the airport. Is there an airport or airline staff strike? Is the airport really busy with security or check-in? If yes, then your flight might be delayed. 

Compensation For A Delayed Flight

What services and compensations you will immediately be entitled to depends on how long you’re forced to wait for a flight. Moreover, the overall delay of a flight will affect how much compensation you can claim when you eventually arrive at your destination. 

  • Flight Delayed By One Hour – A delay of 60 minutes is considered an acceptable inconvenience and travelers are therefore not entitled to claim any compensation in regard to such delays. 
  • Flight Delayed By Two Hours (One to Four Hours for International) – If your flight is delayed by two hours in the case of domestic flights and by four hours in the case of a canceled flight, the airline is obliged to keep you informed about the development of the situation and planned procedures. The airline will also provide you with free meals & drinks, lounge services, etc. You can also claim 200% of your ticket price or a maximum payout of $675.
  • Flight Delayed By More Than Two Hours (More Than Four Hours For International) – If the airline is responsible for the delay and the domestic flight is delayed by more than two hours and the international flight by more than four hours, then you can claim compensation from the airline. You will get 400% of the ticket price or a maximum payout of $1,350. 

Flight canceled? Know the flight cancelation compensation & your refund rights and make your travel smooth. 

Maximum Compensation By Type Of Delay

New Flight Arrival Time Compensation (% of ticket price)Maximum Payout
Within one hour of original arrival None
Between one and two hours after original arrival OR one to four hours for international200%$675
More than two hours after original arrival OR more than four hours for international400%$1,350


Traveling can be super amazing, but when your flight is delayed or canceled, it can create a cascade of problems to derail your trip. You could miss your connection, the chance to see your favorite team play, or any other important event. So, always be ready in advance, check the various possible reasons for the delay, how to avoid them (if possible), what to do when your flight gets delayed and how to claim for the delay. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does my airline compensate for delayed domestic flights?

A: You will not get compensated for the delayed flight within the U.S.A. But, there are some airlines that offer complimentary meal vouchers and overnight stays if the airlines are unable to rebook passengers on another flight. 

Q: What is Air India compensation for delayed flights?

A: Air India provides compensation in the form of a refund or rebooking for flight delays, depending on the circumstances and the length of the delay.

Q: How do I find out why my flight is delayed?

A: You can find out the exact reason for the flight delay on the official website of the airline and airport. You need to go to the flight status tab filled out the required information and you will get all the updates about your flight. 

Q: What causes flight delays? 

A: There are plenty of reasons that cause flight delays such as air traffic control restrictions, strikes, adverse weather conditions, security Clearance, etc. 

Q: Can I check how long my flight was delayed?

A: You can check the delay time of your flight on the airline’s official website easily.

Q: Why is my flight delayed so often?

A: If there’s a problem with an earlier flight, it can cause a chain reaction of delays for other flights. The next most common reason for delays was problems with the airline, affecting 7.1% of flights during that time such as maintenance issues, crew problems, cleaning the plane, loading baggage, and fueling.

Q: Can flights get undelayed? 

A: Yes, flights can get undelayed if the issue causing the delay is resolved quickly. This could happen if a mechanical issue is fixed, weather conditions improve, or air traffic congestion clears up. 

Q: Why does my flight keep getting delayed? 

A: Your flight may keep getting delayed because of bad weather and air traffic. 

This is almost everything you must know about the reasons why flights are delayed. If you have any other queries or want to ask something, do let us know. Our team, at MyTicketsToIndia, is always here to clear your doubts. 


We, being a reputed air ticketing agency, deliver our promises to provide the cheapest flight tickets possible to our customers and answer all their travel-related queries. From low-fare flights to huge flight discounts on USA to India flights (and back) – you will find all this and more on one single platform. To top it all, our travel agents will be available to you at any hour of the day to solve your queries and make your trip memorable. So, to get your flights booked at discounted rates, call our team today. Enjoy the lowest flight rates without having to go through any hassles!

About Renu Dahiya | View Posts

Renu Dahiya is a passionate writer who worships her profession. Her love for writing has encouraged her to pursue her career as a writer. Her friends call her a “travel worm” and always come to her to know some interesting traveling tips and destinations. Renu is a repository of knowledge about traveling who knows which place should be visited in which season. Oh yes, she is insanely in love with dancing too. Writer, traveler and dancer, a perfect combination! Without a doubt, she is a complete package.

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