Many people do not realise that they can claim compensation when flights are significantly delayed. In a typically British manner, we tend to feel that we shouldn’t complain if things go wrong. However, the EU ruling makes it very clear that there is no doubt the consumer is entitled to compensation if flight delays are classed as unreasonable. So what does that mean, and how do you make a claim?
How Long is Too Long?
If a flight is delayed for over 2 hours, the airport staff should be taking steps to look after passengers. Generally, for a delay of this length, you can expect that you will be offered food and drink vouchers, which can usually be redeemed in airport eateries. They should also make sure everyone involved can make contact with anyone that needs to be made aware of the situation. With mobile phones being so popular this is not normally an issue, but should you not have a mobile or access to the internet to email people, the airport should make these facilities available. If there is a need for hotel accommodation, this should also be provided. Once the delay time reaches over 3 hours, the rules change further.
What Happens Next?
Well, if a flight is delayed for over three hours there is an element of cash compensation that can be claimed. Naturally, this would not happen at the time, but the airport should still fulfil their obligation for food and drink as mentioned above. However, depending on how many miles the flight is, and how much time, over the three-hour threshold, you are kept waiting, various cash sums are specified.
How Do You Make a Claim?
Claims are made after the event, so in all likelihood, you would not instigate any form of an application until you have returned from the original destination. Once you are back, you can take various routes. You can make a claim yourself, you can employ a solicitor to take your case, or you can use a no-win-no-fee flight specialist compensation team. The latter option tends to be the most straightforward, and obviously, if your claim were not successfully accepted you would have no fees to pay, whereas using a solicitor you would have to pay them regardless.
What Do You Need?
It helps if you can keep all the relevant documentation. While it sounds straightforward, airlines will often try to avoid having to pay. A flakey case that relies on memories and verbal testament are not going to be particularly strong. Keeping all documentation gives you the upper hand. Tickets, boarding passes and any evidence of compensation offered by the airport are all recommended. Recently mobile phone evidence has officially become acceptable, so you might want to video things you are told or take photos of the conditions you are left to wait in etc. All these things are helpful for the judge ruling on the case. You should also explain why the delay was so devastating and what inconvenience it caused you.