You lie on hard and cold metal chairs. You put your head on the backpack and cover yourself with a thin blanket you bought at the airport for a price of a down quilt with pillows in gilded pillowcases. Even though it’s midday your eyes are closing. This damn jet lag. You feel frustrated. You should be home already, sleeping after your trip.
But it is not the case. The flight was late, you missed your connecting one and you need to wait a couple of hours for the next. Oh well, it’s not the first time after all. You’ve had a cancelled flight before, once they even didn’t let you on board because the airlines sold more tickets than places in the plane. That’s the beauty of air travel…
But is it?
No, it’s not the beauty of air travel. In case of such situation you should get a compensation from airlines and as a passenger, you need to know your rights and enforce them. In this post I will answer the most important questions about when and how you can get your compensation from airlines.
How to claim flight compensation?
1. When can you claim flight compensation?
You can claim flight compensation when your flight arrives 3 hours or more later than scheduled to its final destination. Remember, time of arrival matters, not time of departure. You can claim the following compensations then:
- 250 EUR for distances of up to 1500 km
- 400 EUR for distances between 1500 km and 3500 km
- 600 EUR for distances of more than 3500 km
You can claim flight compensation if you don’t reach your destination with the flight number as on your ticket and you don’t get this information at least 14 days before departure. Compensation amounts are the same as in case of delay. They can be 50% lower if the airline offers you another flight and your arrival time doesn’t exceed the scheduled arrival time:
- by 2 hours for distances below 1500 km
- by 3 hours for distances between 1,500 km and 3,500 km
- by 4 hours for distances of more than 3,500 km
Denied boarding, overbooking
You can also claim flight compensation if the airline doesn’t allow you to board the plane despite the fact that you were at your gate on time. These situations happen when the flight is overbooked – when the airline sold more tickets than places in the plane. It’s a popular practice – statistically, a few passengers don’t appear at the airport anyway. In rare occasions when everybody arrives – you may have to wait for the next flight.
The amounts and rules are the same as in case of a cancelled flight.
2. What an airline has to provide you with?
If your flight is delayed for more than two hours, airlines have to provide you with additional care:
- Meals and refreshments
- Communications – at least 2 phone calls, e-mails or fax (is anybody still using fax? 😉 )
- Hotel accommodation – if the time of departure is at least a day after the scheduled departure time or in case of overbooking if you need to stay at least one night close to the airport.
- Transport between the airport and hotel if airlines offered you another flight at least a day after the scheduled departure time
3. How much time after the flight you can claim flight compensation?
I’ll probably surprise you here. You can claim flight compensation up to three years after a delayed or cancelled flight. Three years!
4. Are there any additional conditions to claim flight compensation?
As all above mentioned rules base on European Union regulation, there are cases when you can’t claim. It doesn’t depend on your nationality but on from where and to where you go and where the airlines come from:
|Origin and destination||EU airlines||Non-EU airlines|
|From outside EU to outside EU||NO||NO|
|From outside EU to inside EU||YES||NO|
|From inside EU to outside EU||YES||YES|
|From inside EU to inside EU||YES||YES|
Important – if you booked a connection flight and the whole journey is on one ticket, it is treated as one flight.
5. Where to check if I can claim flight compensation?
You can easily check it using Claim Flights calculator. Just type your flight number and date and the system will check for you if you can get compensation.
You can claim flight compensation via website of every airline.
6. Can an airline refuse to pay the compensation?
Unfortunately the answer is yes. An airline does not have to pay the compensation if there were “extraordinary circumstances” the airline couldn’t predict or influence. These might be:
- A strike which negative consequences couldn’t have been avoided
- Acts of God – tsunami, hurricane, hailstorms, volcano eruption
- Technical problems which couldn’t have been foreseen or avoided
However, it often happens that airlines try to tell us there were “extraordinary circumstances” when it’s not true. It’s a bit like us looking for excuses why we don’t make our dreams come true 😉
If during strike the airline could avoid delays and other airlines could fly, you might be able to get the compensation. The same applies to the weather conditions and technical problems. In many cases the delay can be avoided by, for example cleaning the runway correctly, keeping spare parts or catching the birds at the runway.
7. What to do if an airline refuses to pay your compensation?
If an airline refused to pay the flight compensation even though your flight meets the above requirements, you can enforce your rights. How to do it?
You can send your complaint to the airline by yourself and try all the tricks of effective communication.
But as individual customers we often don’t have sufficient knowledge and resources to prove the airlines wrong.
That’s when Claim Flights can help.
Claim Flights specializes in solving conflicts between passengers and airlines regarding flight compensation. You just need to claim via their website. Then they deal with all the formalities using their databases and consulting the lawyers. After the case is finalized you get money on your account, reduced by their remuneration. If Claim Flights doesn’t win the case for you – you don’t pay anything and they cover all your costs.
If you are in such situation, use the calculator on their site and check how much money you should get.
You can also do nothing. You can achieve nothing in life and bore yourself to death too. But is it what you want? 🙂
Now you know your rights as a passenger travelling by planes. If you ever have to lie on hard and cold metal chairs, put your head on the backpack and cover yourself with a thin blanket you bought at the airport – you know what you can get for it and how to fight for it.
The post written in collaboration with Claim Flights
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