How to claim flight compensation yourself
If you're delayed by more than three hours or your flight's cancelled, under EU rule 261/2004 you are often entitled to between £110 and £510 in compensation and it's possible to claim this for free.
The flight delay regulations below come from the EU and so it's likely they'll stop when the UK leaves the union. Nothing is confirmed yet though and we won't be exiting for at least two years, probably more, so in the meantime everything here still stands.
The doors for mass compensation for long flight delays were flung open in October 2012 following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice. It clarified that passengers were entitled to compensation for long delays (as long as they met the set criteria) following a challenge by some airlines.
Flight delay compensation Need to knows
-Compensation for delays is only due on flights arriving over three hours or more late. How long the delay is determines how much you could be entitled to.
-It's only for EU-regulated flights (A flight that departed fro an EU airport, regardless of the airlines or where it landed. EU airports also include those in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and U.K for the meantime)
-Not everyone has won compensation. Some airlines have been trying to block people from claiming for flights that were over two years old, and for unforeseeable technical faults, although courts have ruled against this at the end of 2014 and in September 2015.
- You can claim flights back to 2010.
-You are only entitled to the compensation if the delay was something within the airline's control. Staffing problems and underbooking all count. Yet political unrest in a country or strikes make claiming a no-go. Check out the European Commission’s website for scenarios where they believe passengers can claim compensation.
-Compensation is also per person, so for a family of four, quadruple it (although where a passenger travels free of charge – a child, for example – you cannot claim).
-Compensation is based in euros, meaning the amount you'll get in sterling will fluctuate, depending on the exchange rate at the time the payment is made.
-Just because the airline's rejected or put your case on hold, doesn't mean it's correct. If you feel you've a legitimate claim but have been fobbed off, you can take your case to the relevant regulator or ombudsman to look into. Again, this is something you can do yourself – you don't need a claims handler to do this.
How to Claim
If you fit the criteria above you can make a claim by using our simple step by step guide.
Step 1: Prepare your information
Go through your emails or locate your flight tickets to find your booking reference, flight number, dates and times. Check out Flightstats to find out exactly how long your flight was delayed (you may need to free register for flights over a certain period of time).
Step 2: Deciding your route to compensation
Once you have all your flight information the next step is to figure out how your going to pursue your claim. You have two options;
The Resolver flight delay complaints tool powered by moneysavingexpert.com
For anyone whose flight departed from the UK.
For anyone who arrived in the UK on a UK/EU airline, from outside the EU.
Email/mail letter templates (download here)
Those who flew on an EU airline from outside the EU to somewhere in the EU other than the UK (e.g, KLM from New York to Amsterdam) (you can still use Resolver to go to the airline, but if your claim is rejected, Resolver does not escalate to a regulator.
Anyone who flew with Easyjet as the orange-loving airline is not accepting claims via the Complaints tool at this time.)
Step 3: The waiting game
Whether you’re using the resolver flight delay complaints tool or the template the next step is to wait. Resolver will send you updates regularly when its time to escalate the complaint or when the Airline responds so keep checking your email or mail box (template letter)
Step 4: yea or nay
Due to compensation for flight delays set at specific levels depending on the flight delay and length, there's really only two outcomes here – you've received the correct amount and your claim is now over, or your claim has been rejected.
If you’re successful well done and go and treat your self to something nice (maybe even another flight)
Step 5: Claim rejected or put on hold by the airline
Just because your case has been rejected or put on hold by the airline, it doesn't mean that's the end of the line for your complaint. If you think you have a legitimate claim, you can take your case either to the relevant regulator or one of several new adjudicators many airlines have signed up with.
Escalating your complaint is normally free, but watch out - one of the new adjudicators now charges a £25 fee if your appeal's unsuccessful.
If you're flying to or from the UK and your airline's with an adjudicator you must use the Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] scheme
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK's airline regulator, has been approving various Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] schemes to take on cases. If your airline has signed up to one it has to tell you when it rejects your claim - if the ADR scheme covers the flight you flew on you MUST go to it if you want to appeal. The advantage of going to an ADR scheme is its decision is generally binding on the airline.
The CAA has so far approved six ADR schemes to take on complaints, National Board for Consumer Disputes (ARN), the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, NetNeutrals, the Retail Ombudsman and German body Söp:
ARN – Scandanavian Airline SAS. You can submit your complaint here. There's no fee if your claim's unsuccessful. This scheme's decisions are not legally binding on the airline, but it says 80% of businesses follow its rulings.
CEDR – British Airways, Easyjet, Thomas Cook and Thomson. You can submit your complaint here. If your claim's unsuccessful you'll have to pay a £25 fee, but if you're awarded any compensation this fee will be waived.
Czech Trade Inspection Authority – Czech Airlines. You can submit your complaint here. There's no fee if your claim's unsuccessful, but this scheme's decisions are not legally binding on the airline
The Retail Ombudsman – Air Astana, Asiana Airlines, Air Canada (and Air Canada Rouge), Egypt Air, Flybe, Ryanair, Skyworks Airlines AG, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines and Wizz Air. You can submit your complaint here- there's no fee if your claim's unsuccessful.
Söp – Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Germania, Germanwings, Lufthansa and Swiss. You can submit your complaint here – there's no fee if your claim's unsuccessful. This scheme's decisions are not legally binding on the airline, but it says 90% of businesses follow its rulings.
Step 6: The last straw
If the airline still says no, Some airlines are playing hardball with claims and many are rejecting people even when the Civil Aviation authority (CAA) or other regulators say you have a claim.
The problem is that regulators do not have the same powers as ombudsman schemes – they can't force airlines to pay out.
If the airline rejects your claim even after you've gone to the regulator... Unfortunately the next step is really to take it to the small claims court. Don't think going to court is about judges and wigs though – you can actually claim online here Northern Ireland and Scotland.
mary Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:57 Comment Link
This is a brilliant article, we had a delay with Thomas cook last year for 5 hours!!
we will keep you up to date