Have you ever been a victim of flight delays? Many don’t even realise, but you can still claim for flight delay compensation 6 years on.
You may have assumed that claiming compensation would involve a lengthy dispute with the flight company in question, but due to strict European legislation – regulation EU261 – airlines are in fact legally required to pay passengers compensation of up to €600 (£530) for prolonged delays that are at the fault of the airline. It is not a difficult process to claim your flight delay compensation either; here we explain just how simple it is to cash-in on your airline troubles:
The Basics of Flight Delay Compensation
You can only claim on long haul flights i.e. 3 hours or more.
You can only claim flight delay compensation for an EU regulated flight, so, it must have left from an EU airport regardless of the airline.
You can claim back for delays that occurred up to 6 years previous, therefore any delayed flights you haven’t followed up between 2013 and 2019 are still viable.
The amount of compensation you receive will largely depend upon the travel distance and the length of delay time.
Compensation is given out per person, meaning that each and every individual family member can claim back an equal amount. However, no compensation will be given to a traveller that is flying free of charge.
Remember, as it is EU legislation, you will be compensated in euros, so be aware that the exchange rate can fluctuate.
How To Make A Claim:
To claim for flight delay compensation, you must first make an application directly via the airline’s website where you will either fill out a form electronically or send information in the post. Sometimes you may have to fill out a complaint using Resolver which is a free complaints tool. Over 590,000 sufferers of flight delays have benefitted from using these free tools, and with a bit of research into what the airline you are claiming from accepts, you could be one of them.
So that you are aware of where the claims are being handled, BA, EasyJet and Thomas Cook are each covered by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). Alternatively, complaints about Ryanair are now managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) due to the multiple complaints that followed flight strikes. This information is useful to know in case your claim is initially turned down; by using AviationADR you can avoid having to pay CEDR £25 for a failed claim.
Make sure you handle the claim independently and do not fall in the trap of the glamorously advertised, pain-free claim websites that offer to sort out all of your compensations… for a fee. Opting to use one of these companies will cause you not to receive the entire amount of compensation. However, if you do the claim yourself, you will receive the full sum directly to your account.
It is possible that you may have trouble making a claim through some airlines for certain flights, however don’t just give up at the first sign of rejection. If you believe your claim is legitimate and you have been unfairly disregarded, you can take your case to a different service or regulator to continue the dispute further. Again, you should always try to handle this by yourself rather than paying an unnecessary amount for a claim’s handler to do the job instead.
What Should You Do If Your Claim Is Rejected?
This is an unfortunate outcome, but it does happen. If you have lodged your application for compensation directly through the airline, or through another regulator, and been rejected, you can still make a court claim. Don’t worry - this does not mean that you have to stand and justify yourself in a room full of observers and jury members. A court claim can easily be completed online, simply by inputting all of the relevant information. MoneySavingExpert offers some great advice for how to do this.
Knowing Your Flight Delay Rights:
Funnily enough, it is not only compensation that you are entitled to. In the case of a postponed flight, you are entitled to a service which is accommodating of all your vital needs. Here are a few key rights you need to know:
You are entitled to food – whether that be food supplied by the airline during your wait or vouchers to use at the airport’s food court. Airlines must provide these necessities when you are forced to wait hours for your flight.
You have the right to know exactly what is going on. Usually, you can find this information using the airline’s website, social media platforms, or at the check-in desk. If you are making a claim for flight delay compensation, any lack of information provided before and during the waiting will help towards your case.
If you are being held at the airport for a next day flight, the airline should organise over-night accommodation for you. If they haven’t, they will usually cover the costs of a reasonably priced hotel which you have found by yourself.
Compensation for Non-EU flights:
While you are busy claiming back 6 years’ worth of flight delays on your EU regulated journeys, it is worth having a look into other international flights as you may be due some compensation.
Instead of going through the EU regulator, the Montreal Convention is an international agreement where you can make claims for delays in a rather extensive number of countries who are part of this agreement. View the full list here. To claim, you will need to complain directly to your airline stating that you wish to reclaim your cash under the Montreal Convention. If the country is not part of this scheme, you will have to try and claim compensation from the airline directly which can be more difficult but worth a try nevertheless.