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What you might also know (from bitter personal experience in my case!), is that passengers do not always get the compensation that is due for their cancelled or delayed flights.
The airlines pay out automatically, right?!
Airlines automatically pay out compensation right? Wrong. A recent survey suggested that only 25% of delayed passengers received the compensation they were entitled to directly and automatically from the airline. Also, airlines only provided food and drinks in 46% of cases, even though the airline company is obliged to offer you refreshments if you have to wait for more than 2 hours.
Many airlines ignore the European Regulation, and the authorities generally don’t seem too bothered about doing anything about it (the recent case of the Civil Aviation Authority intervening with Ryanair is therefore very unique). As a result, many travellers do not get what they are entitled to.
The amounts these passengers are entitled to can add up to 600 euro per person! The distance of your flight determines how much compensation you are entitled to:
|Flight Distance||Compensation Amount|
|up to 1500 km||€250|
|3500 km or more||€600*|
*If the delay takes between 3 and 4 hours, airlines may reduce the compensation by 50%.
Airline vouchers as compensation?
Be careful when accepting these vouchers since they may take away your right to further compensation. Receiving a € 600 voucher from the airline company sounds good, but hard cash is surely better. When you decline these vouchers, you will still be entitled to compensation up to € 600 per person. Whilst vouchers can be considered an acceptable alternative, they should still be for the values outlined above or ideally more. Always remember cash is much more flexible than an airline voucher with strings attached!
You can accept vouchers for food, drinks or hotel accommodation and still claim your cash compensation.
How to claim your compensation
You can, of course, try to claim your compensation directly with the airline. We would suggest this is the best initial approach for most people, but as described above, sometimes the airlines can decide to be difficult and getting your compensation can be a lot of hassle.
If the airline is playing hard-ball and you don’t have the time or inclination to pursue the claim yourself, we recommend using Claimingo for a relatively hassle-free, quick and easy process. They have a lot of experience, the customer service is good and they make a real effort to keep things simple. If you choose the Claim&GO service, for example, you will receive your compensation within a week.
Obviously companies like Claimingo retain some of the compensation as their fee, so you need to weigh up what the best option for your circumstances is. Some people enjoy really locking horns with the airlines, but I suspect many of us often just give up after firing off a couple of emails (I know I have), so using Claimingo can definitely make sense in some circumstances.
If you’re not sure whether you might be due compensation for a flight delay or cancellation you can do a quick check here.