Over the last few weeks, even months, I’ve been seeing a lot of talk online about flight delay compensations, how big they can be, how to get them, who’s eligible and everything else related to this issue. It seems to be an EU thing because in the US things are apparently somewhat different. When traveling through Europe last year, I found myself in a situation like that and fortunately managed to get reimbursed by the company I was flying with. Therefore, it seemed like a good idea to share my experience in hopes that some of you who are reading this will know what to do if you ever find yourselves in the same spot, knock on wood. See below how this process worked and what needed to be done.
The situation in question happened in Frankfurt, where I was waiting for a flight to London. I was supposed, among other things, to meet a friend in the British capital for lunch that day, so the flight I booked was fairly early in the morning. This would even leave me some time to walk around the city before I had to head to the restaurant where the lunch was set up. It seemed like a really good plan because there’s nothing better when you can just relax a bit and wander about a city like London when you have the time.
Anyway, I got up early and arrived at Frankfurt airport with a book in hand and a nice chunk of time to spare. Everything seemed to be going according to plan. I sat down and continued to read, but after a while, the notification came that my flight is delayed. There wasn’t much I could do, but a feeling of disappointment crawled inside of me – every minute wasted here meant I had less time to roam around London. I was really looking forward to some pre-lunch tea in a nice little cafe I know in Mayfair.
However, minutes and hours came and went, and my flight was still not there. By noon I started to worry that I won’t even be able to make the lunch, but eventually the plane came and I was on my way. I must say that the flight was extremely pleasant and comfortable, and I eventually did manage to have lunch with my friend. That turned out to be a stroke of luck because she informed me that I was entitled to a compensation because the plane was late. Sure enough, EU’s air passenger rights are quite thorough and cover pretty much everything. I hadn’t been aware of that, so I went online to see what can be done.
AirHelp to the rescue
The company I was traveling with was United Airlines. This turned out to be a stroke of luck because the other website my friend pointed me to was very much able to help me. People who resolved my United Airlines flight delay compensation claim work under the name AirHelp, and they have made getting your refund exceptionally easy. Not only that, but they were quite familiar with United Airlines and had a whole page dedicated to them and provided tips on how this particular company resolves these disputes.
But the most important thing about AirHelp is that you can quickly check if you are eligible for any kind of a refund. All you have to do is input some basic information about your flight, things like the flight’s number and stuff like that. You will also have to provide them with your e-mail and some other details, but the point is that everything is very fast and efficient. You don’t have to worry about doing a bunch of unnecessary paperwork or anything of the sort – it all takes literally about two minutes.
So I typed in everything that was asked from me and got notified that I was indeed eligible for a refund. AirHelp immediately took over my case and said that it would manage my claim until it got resolved. I must say that I was pretty surprised how quick and easy everything was. Like I said, two minutes is all it takes. Sure enough, some time later, I was notified that my claim had been settled and that I was entitled to financial compensation. About 250 EUR was awarded to me, and AirHelp took about one-third of that as a fee. Fine by me, because at the time my flight was being delayed, I never even thought of getting any money back. Besides, that fee was the only “expense” for me. Checking if I was eligible for a refund and all those initial steps were completely free.
Don’t give up
The bottom line is that you should demand that airlines be held accountable if they don’t provide the service they promise you. While it may seem intimidating at first to take on a big company in a legal dispute, us travelers now have a powerful ally in those battles. AirHelp will do all the work for you and take the airlines on themselves – you only need to provide them with some basic personal information and information about your flight. And since you pay only if the claim is settled in your favor, you can only profit from hiring them. People who travel a lot will know to appreciate this.
Once again, this story of mine took place in the EU, which has some pretty strict and customer-friendly rules when it comes to flights. It may not be the same in other places, but if you’re not sure you can always check if your case has any chance of getting you a refund on AirHelp’s website. Don’t think that you don’t deserve compensation if you miss an important meeting or your vacation in another city gets off to a bad start because your flight was late. You do. Inform yourselves and don’t be afraid to act – it can save you a pretty penny.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).