How to get compensation for delayed or cancelled flight - SKYCOP
How to Get Compensated for a Flight Delay
Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, flight delays can put a serious kink in your plans, causing everything from missed connections to difficulties once you reach your destination. If you're flying within the United States or on an international flight in many parts of the world, you're at the mercy of airline policies if you want to get compensated for a flight delay. However, if you're flying within the EU using an airline headquartered within the EU, you may be eligible for certain types of compensation or concessions, depending on the reason for and length of the delay.
Filing a Claim for Compensation
Talk to airline staff.Since compensation for flight delays most often is dependent on the policy of the airline company you're using, staff at the airport will be able to explain that policy and let you know your options.
- Keep in mind that especially if there have been multiple delays, or you're on a large flight with many passengers, airline staff may be overwhelmed. This is particularly true during peak traveling times such as around the holidays.
- When there are hundreds of passengers who are delayed, the airline may be unable to accommodate everyone. If there's a legitimate reason the airline should make an exception for you, be prepared to explain the situation. For example, you may be traveling for a serious personal reason such as a funeral. In a case like that, airline staff may be more sympathetic to your plight.
- Keep your emotions in check. Although you may be angry, it won't do you any good to take that anger out on airline staff who are just doing their job. You'll get a lot further if you're courteous and polite to everyone with whom you speak.
- Make sure you get full names of anyone with whom you speak. If you end up filing a claim for compensation, you will need to provide this information.
Try to get a flight on another airline.Unless weather has grounded all flights to your destination, you may be able to find a plane flying out at a similar time that is run by another carrier. If you find an appropriate flight, ask airline staff for an endorsement.
- If the first airline endorses your ticket, the amount you paid will go towards the price of a seat on the new flight. However, you'll still have to pay the difference if your new ticket is more expensive.
- Make sure the first airline won't charge you a cancellation fee if you switch, and confirm the price of the new ticket.
- You'll typically have more luck doing this by calling the airlines' toll-free customer service numbers than you will trying to work with airline staff in person at the ticket counter.
Initiate a chargeback with your credit card company.If you purchased your plane tickets using a credit card, you may be able to use the chargeback process to get your money back for the cost of the flight.
- The chargeback process is available any time you purchase something with a credit card and the item or service is faulty or not as promised. Significant flight delays can qualify for chargebacks, especially if the delay was caused by a mechanical failure or something else within the airline's control.
- Keep in mind that there are deadlines for initiating a chargeback, so you need to start the process as soon as possible. The deadline ranges from 60 to 120 days after you had notice of the problem.
- To being the chargeback process, call the customer service number of the company that issued the credit card you used to purchase your tickets. Some credit card companies also allow you to initiate a chargeback from their website.
- You will be expected to provide your card number, the date of the transaction, and the reason for your chargeback. To safeguard your private information, avoid doing this while you're at the airport. Wait until you're alone.
- A chargeback won't help you at the moment, since the chargeback process can take weeks or even months, but you could eventually get compensated in the form of a refund. However, there's no guarantee that the airline will accept the chargeback, and they may turn around and argue that you're in breach of contract – especially if you ultimately flew with them despite the delay.
Write a claim letter.If you're flying within the EU on an aircraft operated by a carrier headquartered in the EU, compensation for flight delays is governed by EU regulations that require carriers to compensate passengers for some delays. Your claim letter should include the following information:
- Your name, street address, phone number, and email address
- The names of any other passengers for whom you purchased tickets, such as family members traveling with you
- Any reference numbers associated with your booking or itinerary
- The dates of your travel
- The flight number and the airports associated with your departure and arrival
- Details about the delay, including the length of the delay and the reasons given to you for the delay
- Names of all staff with whom you spoke regarding the delay, and a summary of their statements
- Copies of any receipts, confirmations, boring passes, or other evidence of your booking
Submit your claim letter to the airline.Check the airline's website or call their customer service number to find out where your claim letter should be sent. Before you mail your letter, make at least one copy of it for your own records.
- There are various websites and mobile apps that claim they will submit your claim for you. Some of them may charge a fee for their services. Use these at your own risk, keeping in mind that it doesn't take tremendous effort on your part to submit the claim yourself.
- Mail the claim letter using a service that will allow you to track the progress of the letter and confirm when it is received. Keep this tracking information with your copy of the letter.
- If you don't hear from the airline within a week or two, call their customer service line again to follow up on your claim.
File a complaint with the government regulatory agency.In addition to filing a claim for compensation with the airline, you may want to contact the government agency responsible for regulating air travel in your country and describe the situation.
- You also may want to file a complaint if the airline refuses your claim and you believe you have a valid claim and are eligible for compensation.
- To figure out which country regulates your flight, you'll need to consider the country from which your flight was scheduled to depart, and the country in which the airline was headquartered. Any of these countries may be responsible for regulating either your flight or the airline, depending on your departure and destination locations.
- If you were departing from within the EU and are seeking compensation for a flight delay from an airline headquartered in the EU, you also may have the option of filing a lawsuit in small claims court if the airline has refused your claim.
Knowing Your Rights
Review the airline's policy.Look over the airline's policy when you book your tickets so you have a good idea of their procedures if your flight is delayed. Print out or save a link to the airline's policy for flight delays and cancellations before you get to the airport so you can access it easily.
- Mark or highlight information about flight delays, as well as the airline's customer service number, so you can find them easily. You may want to put the customer service number in your mobile phone.
- There also may be limited information regarding compensation for flight delays or cancellations on your ticket or boarding pass.
- Keep in mind that airlines don't provide any guarantee regarding the time when the flight will depart. There are many reasons for delays, including air traffic congestion and bad weather, over which the airline has no control.
Check with the national transportation agency.Your flight typically will be regulated by the country from which the flight departs. You also may want to look at the regulations in the country in which the airline is headquartered, if it is different from your departure country.
- Identify which country is responsible for regulating your flight before you depart. Look for the national transportation agency's website to find more information about traveler's rights.
- If there are any guarantees of compensation for flight delays required by law, you'll be able to find out more about these regulations on the transportation agency's website.
- Print copies of any information related to compensation for flight delays so you can keep it with you as you begin your travels.
Determine the reason for the delay.As soon as possible after your flight is delayed, speak with airline staff and find out why your flight is delayed and how long they expect the delay to last. The official reason for the delay may impact whether you are entitled to compensation.
- If you're at the mercy of the airline policy, keep in mind that even the most generous of those typically don't provide compensation for flight delays caused by weather.
- Within the EU, you generally may be entitled to compensation unless that airline can prove that the delay was caused by "extraordinary circumstances." This phrase is a legal term which generally includes serious circumstances outside the airline's control, such as severe weather, security risks, or political instability either at your destination or en route that makes flying dangerous.
- Keep in mind that sometimes airlines will claim extraordinary circumstances despite the fact that none exist. In those cases, you are free to challenge the airline's decision. You typically must present evidence to support your argument. For example, if the airline claims severe weather was the reason for the delay, you may point to the fact that flights operated by other airlines were making the same trip without delay as evidence that severe weather wasn't the real reason for the delay.
Find out where the airline is headquartered.You may be entitled to compensation for a delay under the denied boarding regulation if you are flying within the EU on a community carrier which has its headquarters and main place of business in the EU.
- You also are entitled to compensation if you are flying out of an EU airport, regardless of where the airline is headquartered.
- If your flight departed from an airport outside the EU, you are only entitled to compensation under EU regulations if you were flying on an airline that is headquartered or has a principal place of business in the EU.
Calculate the compensation to which you're entitled.If your flight delay falls under EU regulation, you are entitled to varying amounts of compensation depending on the length of the delay and the distance of your flight.
- For flights delayed by more than three hours, you are entitled to 250 Euros if your flight was less than 1500 km (932 miles).
- If your flight was more than 1500 km (932 miles) and was entirely within the EU, you are entitled to 400 Euros compensation if your flight was delayed by more than three hours.
- When flying from an EU airport to an airport outside the EU, you are entitled to 400 Euros compensation if your flight was between 1500 km (932 miles) and 3500 km (2175 miles) and is delayed by more than three hours.
- If your flight was between 1500 km (932 miles) and 3500 km (2175 miles) and entirely outside the EU, but on an EU-based airline, you are entitled to 400 Euros if the flight is delayed by more than three hours.
- For flights more than 3500 km (2175 miles) that are between three and four hours delayed, you're entitled to 300 Euros.
- You can get 600 Euros compensation for a delay of more than four hours if your flight is more than 3500 km (2175 miles).
- You are entitled to free meals and refreshments appropriate given the time of day and length of the delay, two free phone calls or faxes, and free hotel accommodations if the delay requires you to stay overnight.
Check the weather.As you're planning your trip, review the average weather both at your destination and along the flight path to determine the likelihood of severe weather delays. While weather is unpredictable, there are certain times of the year when the likelihood of severe weather is greater than others.
- For example, you may face a greater likelihood of severe weather delays if you fly into hurricane-prone areas such as the Caribbean during hurricane season.
- Likewise, you may run into significant weather delays if you're flying to a northern location during the winter months.
- In addition to weather, you also want to be aware of political events, upheaval, and security risks at your destination and along your flight path. These sorts of situations also can cause delays or even cancellation of commercial flights.
Choose a flight well before you need to reach your destination.Because airlines don't guarantee their flight schedules and the time of your departure may change, do everything you can to avoid booking a flight that is scheduled to land at the last minute.
- For example, if you're flying in for a business meeting that starts at 2:00 p.m., it would be risky to book a flight that is scheduled to land at 1:00 p.m. Even a delay of less than an hour could cause you to miss your meeting. If you're allowed to expense an extra night in a hotel, consider arriving the night before. If not, pick a flight as early in the morning as possible.
- The earlier in the day the flight departs, the less likely that it will be delayed. keep this in mind particularly if you have one or more connecting flights.
- If you're traveling for pleasure and you have hotel or cruise ship reservations, try to book a flight for the day before or overnight so delays won't ruin or overly complicate your plans.
Book your flight on an EU-based airline.Even if you aren't flying into or out of an EU airport, you can still take advantage of the EU regulations entitling you to compensation for flight delays if you fly on an aircraft operated by an airline headquartered in the EU.
- Airlines that are headquartered or have their principal place of business within the EU are covered by the EU regulation requiring compensation for flight delays.
- If you're not sure whether an airline is considered an EU-based airline, check on the airline's website. In the UK, you may also check with the Civil Aviation Authority to see if the airline is regulated by the EU.
Purchase travel insurance.Particularly if you are planning a lengthy and extensive international trip, travel insurance may provide you with compensation if any of your flights are delayed more than a few hours.
- Travel insurance has broader coverage for delays, so you may want to consider travel insurance even if you're traveling within the EU and entitled to compensation under the EU regulations.
- Typically you can get compensation for delays for almost any reason, including severe weather, civil disorder, or mechanical problems. Travel insurance also covers delays caused by something on your end, such as a lost or stolen passport or wallet.
- However, your flight typically must be delayed by at least five or six hours before travel insurance kicks in. At that point, you are only entitled to reimbursement for costs you incur as a result of the delay, such as meals and accommodations. Make sure you retain all receipts to submit when you file your claim.
Use a preferred travel credit card.If you have a choice in the method of payment you use to book your flight, look for a credit card that provides compensation for delayed flights and use it to purchase your tickets.
- Most preferred travel cards will reimburse up to 0 in expenses. Like travel insurance, you only get reimbursement for expenses you incur – not any additional payment or compensation – and you must keep receipts for any expenses you expect the credit card company to reimburse (even if you charge those expenses on the same card).
- This coverage typically only kicks in if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours. At that point, even 0 may not go very far depending on where you are, the time of year, the reason for the delay, and how many travelers are affected.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that many of these cards have average fees of several hundred dollars, which can negate the value of delay coverage. For example, there are at least three preferred travel credit cards that reimburse up to 0 of expenses if your flight is delayed by three hours. However, each of these cards has an annual fee of 0.
- Ultimately, using a preferred travel card may be more beneficial to you if you travel frequently, particularly if you make regular international trips.
Video: Martin Lewis' Flight Delay Compensation Claiming Tips
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