Going through the pain of a delayed or cancelled is something that most of air passengers have experienced at least once in their lifetime. I can’t say I travel too often, but it has happened to me once to have a flight delayed for more than 10 hours and despite having enough apps to keep me entertained, it’s something that I don’t want to go through once more. While it’s sometimes impossible to get on with your flight, there are situations when you won’t even get your money back, or not the entire amount.
AirHelp is a brave new start-up which wants to help air passengers get compensations for cancelled, delayed or even overbooked flights. So, according to the new service, if you’ve been on a delayed or cancelled flight or been denied boarding within the last three years you could get up to $800 back from the airline. You can start the claim directly on their website or even on your Android or iOS device.
AirHelp takes care of all the paperwork and if the claim is successful, you get paid directly to your bank account, minus a 25% commission. CEO Henrik Zillmer says that more than 20 million passengers every year are entitled to compensation but less than one percent actually get the compensation because they don’t know their rights. Here’s what Zillmer said about dealing with airlines in courts, which is obviously the most difficult part of their job:
Our approach is primarily based on the vast amount of flight data we use to validate the claim. After that, it’s “only” a question of referring to all the previous court decisions on similar cases. If the airline refuses to pay out compensation we either send the claim to the national enforcement body or we go to court. We have the law on our side and the airlines knows this, so in most court cases the airline never shows up! However, there are also a lot of claims that are not entitled to compensation due to, for example, poor weather conditions or an airport strike.
AirHelp has already proved to be a big success, as Denmark’s national airline association Danish Aviation admitted it was concerned about the trend towards more compensation claims, warning that this lead to increases in fares. I’m not sure what the law has to say about this, but I assume it will side with the consumer, anyway. Currently, the service works with EU flights only (source or destination has to be in Europe OR it needs to be an European airline).