If a flight is seriously delayed passengers are entitled to claim up to 600 euros back from the airline, yet many are failing to do so. The reason – 90% of us have no idea about our rights to compensation.
The total money that consumers fail to claim back tops £1 billion. If your flight is delayed, cancelled or overbooked, under EU regulation 261/2004 you are entitled to varying degrees of compensation. What’s more, some claims can be back-dated to 2005.
Website Plane Claim intends to help consumers through the tricky process of making a claim. For £9.99 they offer a claims-pack, which includes the processes you need to go through. The pack also includes pre-formatted lawyers’ letters that would cost you a lot more should you contact one directly.
According to Plane Claim, airlines are pros at not paying out on claims and they have call centres where staff will tell you that the weather was at fault, without actually investigating the situation.
If the fault was mechanical, administrational or staffing the airline has to fork out for delays of over three hours. Short-haul flights of less than 1,500 km get compensation of 250 euros and 400 euros for up to 3,500 km. Travelling long-haul, over 3,500 km earns compensation of 300 euros and 600 euros if the delay is over four hours.
Even if the delay is due to bad weather the airline must provide refreshments after three hours and a hotel room if the wait is going to spread overnight.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, compensation is rarely offered to passengers. According to industry regulation body the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) it’s more a case of ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’. After unsatisfactory dealings with airlines 40% of claims are won after CAA negotiations.