Delayed flights are not a rare sight at airports around the globe and are one of the most annoying things for travelers. However, there might be a benefit after all the hassle: a reimbursement! According to the law in different parts of the world, most airlines are required to compensate for delayed flights, which means the passenger receives some of his money back!
Here’s how to get reimbursed for a delayed flight:
For my summer vacation in 2015, I decided to travel back home with Jeongsu and show him where I grew up. He had never been to Europe before and it was going to be the trip of our lives. It soon turned into a nightmare when ticket prices were out of the roof and our flight got delayed for about 16 hours. We did not receive a proper email telling us about the delay and I only found out about it when trying to do the online check-in 24 hours before departure.
Instead of a nice overnight flight on a Saturday, the new departure time was Sunday morning – bummer. After a few calls to the airline and ticket provider, we had to deal with the fact that our 1 week trip just got shortened by almost a day. However, when we arrived in Germany, my parents advised us to take some action and claim a reimbursement. They had heard about this possibility on the news and we soon started to look into things.
How to Claim
Due to the huge frequency of flight delays, a new sector of professional compensation services has emerged. Thanks to a EU regulation, in effect since 2005, airline passengers must be compensated by the airlines if the flight was canceled or overbooked. The European Court of Justice has also said that a delay of 3 hours or more is equivalent to a cancellation, which entitles travelers to compensations ranging from several hundred to over 1,000 Euros! Note that compensation cannot be claimed for event beyond the airline’s control, such as weather issues, terror threats or a strike.
Oftentimes, however, the airlines do not inform the customer about this fact and taking on the step of claiming compensation on your own is almost impossible.
However, the professional lawyers working for the compensation services know how to deal with stubborn airlines and it only takes 4 easy steps to get compensated:
The Right Compensation Service
Because I took a Lufthansa flight to Germany, I decided to contact a European service headquartered in Germany, called Flightright. According to their Website, they can take on claims for the following European countries: Austria, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland as well as the United States.
Another big service provider I have found is AirHelp, which seems to be operating worldwide. They even have a free app with which you can check your flight status as well as start a claim as soon as the delay has started. AirHelp seems to be a huge service provider and has even been featured in the New York Times, TechCrunch, USA Today and TECHINASIA.
“If passengers try and claim themselves, they’ll have to send tons of documents, they’ll experience dead links. And if you get through that hurdle, you’re likely to be rejected by the airline saying that it’s an extraordinary circumstance,” Michaelsen said. “We auto-generate the legal documents that you should send to the airline.” – TechCrunch
More Good News
The compensation services obviously make a profit with their services. They usually charge 15 to 25 percent of your total compensation. Should you, for some reason, however, not be successful with your claim and receive no money back from the airline, you don’t need to pay!
That’s why I thought I would give it a try, even without the 15-25% fees the compensation would be better than nothing!
Here’s how the numbers break down: In 2013, the average denied-boarding compensation was $643. Only about one in 10 bumped passengers will challenge their involuntary denied-boarding compensation, because they aren’t aware that they could be entitled to much more than airline funny money. – USA Today
After around 7 months of waiting and regular updates from Flightright on the current status of the claim, I received my compensation! The airline had to pay around 1,200 euros ($1,300). In the end, I received about 850 Euros ($920) after the fees were deducted.
While European flights can compensate for delayed, cancelled, and overbooked flights, domestic flights in Asia only cover overbooking. But passengers on flights from Asia to Europe and vice versa can still get compensation if they are delayed or the plane is cancelled. – TECHINASIA
In my opinion and from my own experience, I recommend everyone to file a claim whenever there has been a delay of several hours. The claiming process was really easy and I only had to fill out the date and flight information on their Website. To make claims easier, you should always keep your boarding passes since the process will be a lot smoother and quicker if you can provide this effective piece of paper.
I’m very happy with the result and my 850 Euros ($920), imagining what I would have missed out on if I hadn’t known about my legal rights to claim money from the airline!
Traveler smarter – file a claim
in case of a delay!