When it comes to traveling there are few causes of stress that are worse than a delayed or canceled flight. The best scenario to hope for in that case is that your flight was non-stop.
Chances are if you had a connecting flight, you’ll miss it. Even if they rebook your flight right away. Somehow you will miss your connecting flight, without fail.
The worst part is feeling like there is nothing you can do about the situation. You can be moved to another flight but often there isn’t a guarantee that you’ll have a seat on that flight. It is a last-minute booking after all.
You might not even be able to take the new flight, there are many reasons this could happen. And while in some situations if this were to happen you would be out of luck, but there are some situations where you can be compensated for the flight.
Find out today how to get compensated the next time your flight is delayed or canceled.
How to Get Compensated for Your Flight Delay or Cancellation
Not every situation is entitled to flight delay compensation. And while there are factors to consider that may be beyond the airline’s control (storms, acts of God, etc…) there are specific flights that also affect eligibility.
Flights that start and end in the European Union are eligible for compensation from airlines both registered and not in the EU. If you are traveling from outside the EU to outside the EU, you will not be compensated for your flight.
Checking to see if you’re eligible should be the first step in attempting to be compensated. Once you’ve determined if you’re eligible or not, find out what the average rates for compensation are. This will help you to know what the best option for you is. As far as whether or not you should seek compensation or some other form of a deal.
General Delays and Compensation Amounts
Your compensation is tied to the distance of the flight. In general flights, less than 150km are around 250€ while flights more than 3500km are around 600€. However, your compensation can be reduced by as much as 50% based upon the length of your delay.
Typically, the full amount that can be compensated is available for delays lasting longer than four hours. Delays that last for only 2 to 3 hours typically are 50% of the full amount. Compensation is not available for delays shorter than 2 hours.
These are flights that are between two EU members or within the territory of an EU member. The biggest difference between these flights and the previously mentioned scenario is the max amount available.
For intra-community flights over 3500km, the max compensation is only 400€. But the same rules concerning the length of the delay. Meaning those flight more than 4 hours delayed with receive 400€, whereas flights less than 2 hours will receive nothing. 2-hour delays are about half or 200€.
Filing a Claim
Now that you know whether or not your eligibility for compensation and roughly how much you’re entitled to, it’s time to find out how to claim your compensation. The most common option is to file directly with the airline.
Luckily for passengers, European Union Legislation 261 was passed. It contains the rules and compensation rates for passengers who experience delays, cancelations, or overbookings.
However, while airlines are bound by EU Legislation 261/2004 it can still seem pretty daunting. There is an option to hire a third-party company to help you with your compensation, or your credit card could help with your flight delay compensation.
Compensation Collection Services
If you find yourself running into issues with collecting your compensation, or just don’t know where to turn, you can contact one of these companies.
These collection companies will conduct all the communication with the airline on your behalf and collect your compensation for you. Typically, they will only charge a fee when your compensation is collected. Which means if they don’t succeed you aren’t out anything.
The benefit of using these services is their expertise and experience in compensation claims.
While they follow the same procedure you would, they are better able to deal with the airlines.
Airlines will attempt to dispute your claim and deny your compensation. However, when they do dispute the claim these services demand to see the documentation for the reasoning and are able to compare those reasons with regulations and policies.
They will continue to fight despite the airline’s denials.
Some credit cards that offer discounts on flights or air miles programs can help with compensation. If you are a preferred or VIP member, accumulate a lot of frequent flier miles, or a rewards member you may be able to collect your compensation from your credit card.
Keep in mind that whatever compensation you receive from your credit card company is your compensation. You won’t be receiving compensation from both your credit card company and the airline.
Cautions When Filing Claims
When filing a claim for compensation with an airline be sure you know what their compensation policy states and the content of EU Legislation 261/2004. Not knowing the process, eligibility requirements, and rates can cause delays in your compensation or denial.
There are a few more cautions to be concerned about when using the services of a compensation collection agency. While most are interested in helping you get your compensation, there are scams to be cautious of.
The best way to combat scams is to make sure the company you choose is authorized by the National Police in one of the member states to collect on debts. There are certain laws and regulations which govern debt collection. Hiring an unauthorized company can get you into trouble very quickly.
Remember you can still get in trouble if you hire a company that conducts illegal activity.
Your Rights as a Passenger
When it comes to airlines and handling delayed canceled, or overbooked flights, it’s important to know your rights as a passenger. With the passing of EU Legislation, 261/2004 passengers were given a set of rules and compensation tables for airlines to follow.
This provided passengers with a way to be compensated for their flight being delayed, canceled, or overbooked. The rates are determined by the distance of the flight and the length of the delay. Delays shorter than 2 hours are 0€ while those over 4 hours for a flight longer than 3500km can be up to 600€.
There are services available to handle all communication with the airline on your behalf. Be sure, however, that the company is authorized to collect debts by the National Police of a member state. This will help to keep you from being scammed and getting into trouble yourself.
If you’ve purchased your airline tickets with your credit card check with them to see if they can compensate you. Sometimes because of their rewards and VIP programs they can compensate customers for delayed or canceled flights.
Not every flight or circumstance is eligible for compensation, but knowing the criteria, your rights, and that there’s help with all of it can certainly go a long way to easing the stress of traveling.
Take a look at this article filled with tips on what to do on a long flight.