Flight Delays Compensation: what you need to know
Flight delays compensation is big business today, and you could be entitled to it.
Did you know that of 9 million daily air travellers, over 800,000 ( just under 9%) are entitled to compensation?
For those entitled to EU-regulated compensation, this can be between £110 to £530.
Flight delays compensation: how, who, what for
EU flight delays compensation
One reason flight delays compensation is more prevalent is due to an October 2012 ruling by the EU court. This ruling confirmed EU air travel passengers ARE entitled to compensation.
To be subject to this regulation, EU travel is defined as:-
- ANY airline departing from a European Union airport
- A European Union airline landing at a EU airport
The EU regulations generally cover cancellation or more than 3 hours delay at final destination. Compensation is at pre-defined levels based on delays, and is between £110 – £530.
Non-EU flight delays compensation
Generally speaking, you could be entitled to compensation for the following situations :-
- baggage – delayed, damaged or lost
- denied boarding/overbooking – such as the United Airlines deplaning incident
Most countries (including Qatar, UAE) have signed up to the Montreal Convention 2003, which generally covers losses and baggage issues.
In some countries, such as USA, denied boarding/overbooking is so common that there are set compensation levels.
Generally speaking, compensation depends on the culpability of the airline. ‘Acts of God’, strikes, freak weather conditions etc. are generally not considered the fault of the airline.
Maintenance, punctuality, crew or staffing issues, cancellation of flight by the airline are viable grounds for compensation.
Finally, some carriers and countries have regulations which cover consequential losses (rather than compensation). This could be relevant if you incurred losses such as hotel or car hire bookings or needed to book alternative transportation.
What are the chances that I could be entitled to flight delays compensation?
If we take Dubai International Airport as an example, their On Time Performance (OTP) is approximately 57%. This means almost half of the departing flights from DXB do not depart on time.
Whilst in most cases the flight may ‘catch up’, the chances of missed connections or delays are there.
In the case of the GCC airlines, the On Time Performance (OTP) vary from :-
- Etihad – 86% on time
- Qatar – 80%
- Emirates – 78%
What you can do about flight delays
Research – and know your rights
Before booking, check your airline’s history of punctuality, and compensation, and which regulations (e.g. EU) your flight/s will be covered by.
Check the conditions of carriage
Every airline has conditions of carriage – it’s the legal contract between you and them. Most passengers don’t bother checking them, but they have to be made available for review.
Check the airline’s website, do a Google search or contact their customer services for a copy.
Although often written in ‘legalese’, the conditions of carriage often display their obligations for compensation to you.
Same airline/booking for all connections
For convenience, if possible have all your connections on the same booking or airline. This may cost more money, but it will save squabbles between different carriers.
Join the loyalty program of the airline
Airlines tend to be more helpful to members of their loyalty programs, especially when it comes to complaints.
This doesn’t mean you’re likely to get more money, but it’s likely they may offer you more attention and/or even bonus points or miles.
Consider Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance is a good option because you could receive a benefit in addition to anything from the airline.
However, most ‘standard insurance companies are quite restrictive on when they will pay out – and what for. Often they may only offer cover after 12 hours, so use a specialist Travel Insurance provider like World Nomads.
World Nomads are a great travel insurance provider because they tend to offer more beneficial terms for flight delays.
What to do if your flight is delayed, cancelled or any other issues
Above anything, keep calm and try to be nice and positive to any airline staff. Everyone’s likely to be stressed, but by being nice you’ve a better chance of people being more helpful.
If possible, show empathy to the airline staff – along the lines of “I know it’s tough for you, but ….”
- Document everything – who you spoke with, at what time, and any communications made.
- DON’T spend anything until you have checked your rights. Use wifi at airport for a real-time check of your entitlement to compensation using XXXX
- Don’t just complain to airline (or expect airline to resolve. Airlines generally are not forthcoming about compensation, and may offer you a lesser offer than you’re entitled to.
- CLAIM – either yourself, through a DIY kit, or a claims company (see resources below).
Resources for flight delays compensation
Avoid any flashy adverts when searching for flight delays compensation services, as there’s plenty free resources out there to help you.
Money Saving Expert’s free templates and guide to compensation
Complaining Cow’s letter template for EU compensation
If you prefer to get flights delays compensation experts involved, be aware there’s often a fee or commission to pay. Whilst these companies and apps are tried and tested, so first check if you’re entitled, and what to, before committing.
(in no order or priority other than alphabetical)
Air Help – comprehensive site to help you claim compensation, research your airport/airline’s record of punctuality and compensation claims. Ideal for in-airport check of current flight situation too.
Bott and Co – UK-based solicitors reknowned as the experts in airline compensation – 99% success rate!
Cashback Airbot – Facebook Messenger or Telegram bot to assess if you’re entitled
Claim Air – not just delays and cancellations, but baggage claims also
Claim Compass – web-based service for assessment of entitlement to compensation
Service – real-time monitoring and claiming of your current and past flights for compensation.
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