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When you’re flight is cancelled or delayed, you may be due compensation. Initially, you may think that this will be a long, drawn out, complicated process, but it can actually be much easier than you think. Depending on your flight details, there are different compensation potential as well as different methods to seek the compensation.
In the UK, for example, there is a potential to receive over £400 for your inconvenience. You may choose to file the claim yourself, which can be a lengthy and time consuming process depending on your situation, or you could choose to utilize a professional service such as the experts at flightright.co.uk. They will handle the entire process for you, and only receive payment if you are due compensation. Their payment is 25% (plus VAT) of your due amount. They also will represent you in small claims court, if the process reaches that point. It is important to point out here that while it may be just as easy to file the claim yourself and not pay the fee of a professional service, if you do get to a point where small claims court is your only option, it will be very helpful and perhaps necessary and save money by using a professional service rather than representing yourself.
If you do choose to file the claim yourself, however, the first step is to determine if your flight will even qualify for compensation. The current regulation in the UK as well as the rest of the European Union, is the flight must have taken off from a European airport, which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland OR it must have landed at a European airport WITH a European airline company. If you’re flight does not fit these requirements, there is the chance that you are due compensation under regulation of a different government, typically where your flight took off from.
Your flight must have also occurred after 2005, though you will have the best results after 2010/11, depending on the statute of limitations of the country, for example the UK has a different length than Spain.
The cancellation or delay must have been the fault of the airline. This means that inclement weather is not applicable, however, if the plane was overbooked, for example, that counts. The rules are dependent on the airlines, so it is important to do your background research. For a cancelled flight, you must have arrived at your destination anytime later than the scheduled time. For a delayed flight you must have arrived at least three hours later than the originally scheduled time. The later you arrived, the higher your potential for compensation.
If you are able to check off each of the previous points, then your next step will be to contact the airline directly. You can consult their website to determine their preferred mode of contact, as it will vary by airline. When contacting the airline, be sure to include the following: full contact details, full details of all passengers, booking reference and travel dates, flight number, departure and destination, details about the disruption and length of delays as well as the name of staff you were in contact with. Also, if possible you should provide support that you were actually on the flight, such as email correspondence with the airline, receipts from the airport, passport stamps of luggage tags.
If the airline feels that you are in fact due compensation then do a little jump for joy! If they refuse the claim, however, remember that you still have other options. When the claim is refused you want to contact the regulator in charge of the flight. The UK regulator, for example, will always be the Civil Aviation Authority. If they decide that you are in fact due compensation then contact the airline again as the regulator is not able to impose the regulations on the airline rather just assess if you have a valid claim.
If the airline still denies your claim, then your only option will be to go to small claims court. As mentioned before, this part can be expensive and it may be a good idea to turn to a professional service at this time. If you do choose to represent yourself, make sure that you determine how to follow the claim so that all of the effort was not in vain.
Hopefully, at the end of the process you have received the result you were hoping for. While it is not always successful, it is important that passengers know their rights and are provided the reparations when they are deserved.