Fellow travelers, if you’re flying a European airline during any part of your travels this summer (or any time of year, for that matter) and end up with flight delays, play close attention: Airline passenger rights matter over the pond. While an airline won’t likely volunteer this information to the disappointed crowd of travelers it has just told its flight has been delayed, cancelled or overbooked, there’s a high flying chance you’re eligible to receive a refund for such occurrences. According to AirHelp, an online legal service that helps airline passengers receive compensation for flight delays, passengers could be entitled to up to $650. So hang on to your e-ticket itinerary! When AirHelp contacted me by email after my return from an amazing vacation last summer to Stockholm (Stockholm During Midsummer) and Prague to inform me that they could possibly negotiate a refund for my five-hour flight delay, the itinerary was all they required from me to begin the process.
I was lucky…AirHelp was able to identify my delayed flight (and me) as a potential source of income — for both of us.
There is a fee, however: if a refund is successfully negotiated, AirHelp receives 25 percent of the total amount — for their help, of course. For me, this was not an issue, at least this time around. The total refund translated to about $575 USD. I received a check for $425 USD. Not bad, considering it involved little effort on my part, other than the “too good to be true, is this company legit” research.
In my case, I was lucky. Because AirHelp partners with Expedia, the online travel company through which I purchased my ticket, it was able to identify my flight delay (and me) as a potential source of income — for both of us. But it could be luckier for others who already know about the company and that there is a quicker, direct route to possible recompense.
Had I known about AirHelp and its services that very long day-turned-night last June before departing American (New Jersey) soil, I could have spent some of that lengthy wait in Newark Airport wisely using AirHelp’s free mobile app (available for iOS and Android devices) to determine if I would be eligible for a potential refund. After completing the website-touted “three-minute” five-step process, I could have submitted it for processing then, too. As it was, I’m thankful they located me through Expedia, and ultimately the refund landed in my bank account, despite it being six months later. The company can also assist with domestic air travel delays, says AirHelp’s Mathue Duhaney. Specifically, those who experience overbooked domestic flights could be eligible for refunds. Hint: The next time the agent asks over the PA system for passengers to volunteer to be bumped, keep that hand down! Then get on the app and send your information on its way.
For me it was a win-win. Despite flight delays, which I wish upon no one, I’ve never not made it to my destination and getting there is often an interesting part of the journey. It’s just that this time, it resulted in a little extra cash to put toward my 2015 travel fund, delays or no delays.