If you’ve ever experienced long delays while travelling, chances are that you’ve wondered how you can claim money back from the airline. Under European law, travellers on European carriers are entitled to money if their flights get delayed more than three hours.
Unfortunately, very few travellers know about this law, known as Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 (or EC 261). This law established common rules of compensation across the EU member states and EU based airlines, and states that travellers are entitled to anywhere from €250-€600 (depending on flight distance) for flight delays, cancellations, or denied boarding. In a survey, nearly 85% of European air travellers didn’t know they were eligible for compensation.
AirHelp is an easy-to-use online platform that will track compensation for travellers. They can assist with flight delays, flight cancellations, overbooked flights, missed connections due to any of the above, delayed or damaged bags, or lost luggage. Travellers must be eligible for the compensation they are seeking, but AirHelp’s website breaks down exactly what you need in order to file a claim.
AirHelp was founded in 2013 by three internet entrepreneurs who believe that air passenger rights are not for “the airlines to interpret on a whim.” They fight for travellers around the world who either don’t have the time or expertise to challenge airlines over air passenger rights, and they have the knowledge of what we, as travellers, are due when our flights are delayed, cancelled, or overbooked. AirHelp’s goal is to “make claiming compensation as easy and seamless as possible. [They] believe that this can be achieved by data and cutting edge technology presented with a user-friendly website and intuitive mobile apps.”
Their information pages are very easy to read and straightforward. There’s no legalese words that leave you scratching your head. It’s also completely free to submit a claim to see if you are eligible. If you’re curious about whether you’re due any compensation for a flight, you can walk through the steps. AirHelp will tell you at the end whether you are eligible or not. It’s very easy. In addition to checking for recent flights you might want to claim for, you can also check back three years – so now’s the time to think about a flight you took back in 2016 that was cancelled!
Why You Can File
If your flight was delayed or cancelled, or you missed a connection, you can file a claim – provided you were flying within Europe, or were flying on a European carrier either from or to Europe. Therefore, domestic US and Asian flights are not eligible, but if you’re flying Delta Airlines from Paris to New York or Singapore Airlines from Munich to Singapore, you could claim. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the other way – you cannot file a claim on a non-European carrier that takes off in another country, even if the destination is within the EU.
Flights that arrive within three hours of their scheduled arrival time are also not eligible; the estimated arrival time is considered to be the time that the plane is at the gate and the doors are open to allow passengers to disembark. Sometimes, this can be 15-20 minutes after landing so it is important to be precise when filing a claim.
Flight cancellations and delays are, for the most part, covered under this regulation and they are required to compensate travellers who claim. However, an airline can avoid liability if the delay or cancellation is due to “extraordinary circumstances.” These can be things outside of the airline’s control, like medical emergencies, lightning strikes, terrorist attacks, or seriously adverse weather conditions.
If you were bumped due to overbooking (or another reason), on an EU or US flight, you are eligible to claim for compensation.
Not only does AirHelp break down the various scenarios for flight delays, cancellations, or missed connections, they also share very specific information on delayed, damaged, or lost luggage. The good news for US travellers is that here, AirHelp lists how to file a claim for US and EU flights. Most of the time, you’ll need to file a Property Irregularity Report with the airline itself.
How to File a Claim with AirHelp
To begin filing a claim with AirHelp, simply click “check compensation” to walk through the steps. Be sure you have your boarding pass and other flight details, otherwise you won’t be able to use the system. You can file a claim on their website, or by using the mobile app, which is available for Google and iOS. AirHelp is available in multiple languages, making it very easy for travellers to read through the various information pages and click through to claim compensation.
What Else Can AirHelp Do?
In addition to detailed, yet simple, information on air passenger rights, AirHelp also ranks airlines and airports. Airlines are ranked by their on-time performance, quality of service, and claims processing, while airports are ranked by on-time performance, quality of service and passenger amenities, and passenger overall satisfaction. AirHelp also has a fun travel map, which will track your travels, airports visited, number of miles flown, and number of days spent in an airport. It needs to connect to your email though, and if you use various emails for flight information, you may end up with a pretty scattered map!
Since 2013, AirHelp has helped over 7 million passengers get compensated for delayed and cancelled flights, missed connections, and denied boarding. To get started, visit AirHelp.com!