What happens when an airline delay, or worse, cancel a flight? Of course, no one accepts it; instead, we all seek compensation. Imagine an unfortunate scenario where we show up at an airstrip on time, ready for a business trip or holiday, but the airline delays it or cancels it. Of course, we leave early to the airport so that we can have ample time to prepare at the airport. But none of that matters when the airline decides to delay the flight, meaning it will not depart on time.
The worst could still happen and result in a change of schedule and cancellation of the trip. Like other millions of passengers, we have been through this. It is then that we realize how unfair that is and how powerless passengers are in such scenarios. The chances are that hundreds of passengers across the world are stuck with delayed or canceled flights like us. But worry no more as there are a few options for claiming compensation for a canceled or delayed flight. Here is what to do if stuck with disturbed flights.
1. Contact the Airline
Passengers should file a claim against the company that operates the flight, but not the agency that they booked with. For example, a passenger booked a ticket on Delta’s website, but Air France operated the flight, the claim should be directed to Air France. We could also book a flight with an online travel agency that then directed us to British Airways. In such a case, the claim should be directed to the flight operator, which is British Airways. But be sure to use the right avenues to contact the flight operator. Some airline can have us fill some forms before we are compensated for a canceled or delayed flight. Others require passengers to contact them through their postal address. But the most straightforward and cheapest way to approach an airline is to send them an email.
2. Describe What Caused Flight Delay or Cancellation
Whichever option that a flight operator offers for passengers to contact them, it will let travelers describe what caused their flight to delay or get canceled. A European flight delay compensation claim should include a description of what caused cancellation or delay, how much money a passenger claims for the flight disturbance, and the appropriate EU Regulation’s quote. However, note that it is likely that the representative who will receive the claim was not responsible for the flight cancellation or delay. As such, passengers should avoid being aggressive and rude, as that would only result in a counter-productive argument. We will have won if we receive a definite answer from the airline, but in some instances, passengers are denied compensation.
3. Claim Escalation
Just because the airline denied us compensation, doesn’t mean that it is the end of our case. However, airlines rarely take advantage of their passengers for lack of knowledge about their rights or lie about the events to avoid compensating them. Passengers that believe that they are entitled to compensation should take their claim to an adjudicator or regulator. One advantage of escalating a request to an alternative dispute resolution scheme is that the ARD’s decisions are binding. However, we have to find out the regulator or adjudicator to work with, though it depends on the nationality and itinerary of the airline. The flight should also be in the jurisdiction of the alternative dispute resolution scheme that a passenger escalated the complaint to, though. In case the airline fails to sign up to a regulator or adjudicator, the only hopes are to get in touch with a National Enforcement Body. But unlike ARD, the decisions of an NEB are not binding. The National Enforcement Body to work with depends on the country where the flight operator is based and our itinerary as passengers.
4. Proceed to Small Claim Courts
Whether passengers are unhappy with the decision of the NEB and the ADR scheme, the airline can refuse to compensate for a canceled or delayed flight. The airline can put the claim on hold or state as being processed. In such a case, consider taking the complaint to a claims court, but we might have to seek legal advice when we decide to take that path. Passengers can ask a lawyer to file the claim on their behalf if they are afraid to do so. But this is not a recommendable option, considering that the lawyer will ask for an upfront fee, whether the claim goes through or stumbles. Resorting to a flight compensation attorney is also time-consuming since as a client, we have to schedule meetings with the lawyer, spend time on the phone, and do the paperwork. Worst, a passenger may have a lawyer who has no specialty in compensation claims and air passenger rights.