The summer air travel season means increased flight delays, cancellations, denied boarding, or missed connection issues. Summer is also expected to bring the worst traffic chaos ever to the European air traffic control system.
This is because of a severe shortage of manpower staffing among air traffic controllers as well as navigation facility operators within the European airspace.
European Union Passenger Rights law
You should be aware of how European law protects airline passengers by entitling you to receive compensation, money, under certain situations.
This is a little known secret among some airline passengers.
Most passengers in Europe are well aware of their compensation rights. In the U.S., however, I am shocked to learn how such few numbers of passengers are even aware of this law.
Under what conditions do these European airline passenger rights apply to me?
Here’s how it works and when you could qualify for money from your airline:
Departure (take off) OUTSIDE of Europe, AND landing IN Europe, if your flight was operated by a EUROPEAN carrier.
Departure (take off) FROM Europe, and if your flight was operated by a carrier of ANY nationality.
How did the European passenger protection rights come about?
Prior to 2014, the European Union (EU) decided it was time to come up with better passenger rights protections for the flying public.
The European Flight Compensation Regulation 261 became law on February 11, 2004, designed as a passenger rights advocate law. It went into effect on February 17, 2005.
The law covers a lot of details under which qualifies you for monetary compensation when certain conditions are met.
Prior to this new Europe passenger rights law, only a basic set of rules and regulations were in place to protect passenger rights.
Regulation 261 took the place of the old set of rules, called Regulation (EEC) No 295. The old rules had been in effect since 1991.
What situations do the passenger rights Regulation 261 cover?
1. Flight Delays
2. Denied Boarding.
3. Missed Connections.
4. flight Cancellations.
Passenger rights outside of Regulation 261
If you have other problems with your airline there are solutions to this too. But here we are not necessarily dealing with clear-cut, simple answers. Information on airline passenger rights, in general, are covered here, and here.
How much money am I entitled to?
It depends on your situation. Let’s say your flight from Paris to New York was canceled. You were to travel with your family, and there were four of you, each with a separate ticket.
That means you have a claim for 2,400 Euros, which the airline has to compensate you. That’s approximately $2,700 in U.S. dollars, depending on the current exchange rate.
This is money that your airline would direct deposit into your bank account after a successful claim has been processed.
Sounds like an easy process, huh? Well, not so fast. Read on.
Most airlines drag out the processing time to the extremes
History and research prove that there are some “slick” countermeasures in place within the airlines, to avoid paying you for as long as possible. Sometimes airlines don’t even respond to your claim!
Official surveys on passengers who filed a flight delay compensation claim report that 70% of these passengers were ignored by the airlines! This, in spite of the European Union’s passenger protection law being in full force.
So then, how do I file my flight delay claim?
You have one out of two choices:
1. Handle the claim yourself
You can choose to prepare for a possible “battle” with your airline, all alone, and with no help. Sadly, doing the claims process alone has proven to be an issue of passenger frustrations and a test of patience.
You would have to dig into the EU website, find the claim form, submit it to the airline, and then you may even have to fight the airline’s own legal department.
Some airlines lean towards their “own interpretation” of the EU law, in an attempt to avoid paying you. With no help or anyone to do this for you, you may be pretty much pinned with your back to the wall.
If you do receive your claim, it could be the result of you refusing not to give up your claim after pressure from the airline.
But that process could drag on for a long time. It could be long before you see the money compensation for your efforts sitting in your bank account.
2. How to use a professional Flight Delay Compensation Service Provider
The easy, painless, and fastest way to get your money, is to use one of the many flight delay compensation service providers available to do the entire process for you.
Using such a service is completely free to you. If they are not successful in getting your money for you, then there are ZERO charges to you!
Compensation award fee for service
The way they work is by charging you a percentage fee of your compensation award, but only AFTER your compensation money has been awarded, sitting in your bank account!
At that time, you pay them an average fee of 25%-30% of the gross compensation amount you received from your airline.
So, in other words, the way most of these service companies work is by zero cost to you, until the airline pays you first.
Please note the importance of choosing a reputable, top-gun provider, however, who do not overcharge you an unreasonable service fee!
My experiences with my own actual flight compensation claim
As an airline pilot, I also travel on my own as a passenger, just like you do. Although I can fly anywhere in the world for free, I prefer to purchase tickets for my vacations.
As a “non-revenue airline employee” non-paying passenger, my family and I only get on these free flights, provided there is seat-space available on the airplane. So, with mostly full flights nowadays I run a risk of not getting on my flight. That would be eating up my valuable vacation days, just to hope I can get on the next flight.
How Captain Jetson filed his own flight cancellation compensation claim
After experiencing a flight cancellation from Los Angeles to Oslo, Norway (with a non-stop European budget carrier) I became eligible for the EU compensation.
Being very clear of the huge headaches associated with filing the claim on my own, I decided to use the flight compensation service provider considered among the best in the world, if not the best.
By the way, I am fully qualified to know who the best service providers are. I have worked in the major airline industry for 32 years now.
Air-Collect flight-compensation service
I chose the highly respected Air-collect to handle my claim, and I could not have been happier with their results. After completing my claim form online with Air-Collect I never had to do anything else.
A few weeks later the airline automatically deposited my claim money into my bank account. At that time I paid Air-Collect their very reasonable 25% fee that they charged for their work.
After paying Air-Collect I ended up with a total of $1,285 in my bank account, as “net profit” from the flight. That was money I would have never had otherwise!
My amazing road-trip, fully financed by a European budget-airline
What did I do with my “net compensation claim profit”?
That compensation money paid for an additional great vacation trip!
This time, I took a stunning (thanks to the EU law), all expenses paid road-trip along my beloved California Coast, along the Pacific Coast Highway, after first spending two nights in stunning Palm Springs! (Picture).
The entire trip was fully paid for by the airline cancellation!
How you can save money by using Air-Collect
I am not just a client and a fan of Air-Collect. But I am also an affiliate, to be able to pass on the savings for you!
Should you find yourself in a situation of a flight delay, boarding, connection, or cancellation issues on your flight to, from, or within Europe, I’d strongly urge you to consider Air-Collect.
I am not saying this only from my own experiences with them.
A primary mission of my website is to help you, the air traveler, advice you with my aviation and travel tips. And this is one of my genuine tips to you.
I have used Air-Collect myself, and I would never recommend anyone I don’t trust to use myself.
Air-Collect’s results simply speak for themselves.
Featured photo: © Captain Jetson