Starting end of March 2015, to the time of writing this entry, over 116,000 flights were delayed. A good number of those flights will have to, by law pay out a compensation to their passengers. The catch here is that, for the most part, the passengers will never receive any money from the airlines. The reason behind this is simply because most passengers are not aware of their own rights and do not even file flight delay claims. If you have experienced such delays, or if you do face it in the future, just remember that it pays to be mindful of your rights.
Know your rights before you claim flight delay compensation
The EU regulation (EU) no 261/2004 is a document released by the European parliament and council which details the rights of all passengers flying with an EU airline. In case of long delays, cancellation, or denied boarding, there are a number of things that you will have to keep in mind.
A long delay is defined based on the distance travelled and duration of delay
If the flight is within 1,500 km, a delay of two hours or more may be classified as a long delay.
For flights within the EU or others that are between 1,500 and 3,500 km, a delay of three hours or more may be classified as a long delay.
For flights over 3,500 km, a delay of four hours or more may be classified as a long delay.
If the flight is delayed by more than five hours, you can decide to either wait it out or get your ticket cancelled, and reimbursed. In case you choose to do the latter, and you have travelled between connections, you can have the airline fly you back to where you started your journey for free.
Care should also be provided by the airline to their passengers. You should receive food, refreshments, a way to contact your kin either through email, fax, or phone. If the flight is delayed overnight, then a hotel accommodation should be provided along with transportation.
Some airlines will want to reroute the flight through another airport to reduce the duration of delay, however, if you still arrive three hours after the originally scheduled time, you can make the same flight delay claims as you are entitled to in case of a cancellation. In addition to all of the above- mentioned rights, you can hold the airline responsible for any damages that you might have faced as a result of the long delays.
Have your rights been infringed upon?
If you have reason to believe that your rights have been violated, then you can make European flight delay compensation claims with the airline. Contact the airline, fill out the given forms and they should contact you with the money owed. It is, however, unlikely that the airline will respond kindly when you claim flight delay compensation. The best thing to do will be to speak to a flight delay claims agency, which can take care of the legalities, and if you are entitled to receive compensation, make sure you get it.