Today it is very common to have had a problem with some carrier due to delays or cancellations of flights. At present the passengers are usually unprotected and doesn’t have enough information to make the right decisions. Knowing your rights as a traveler can save you a few headaches. At least the European Union has effective mechanisms to protect the travelers with monetary compensations.
You made your suitcases, the hotel is booked, the tour is paid and your friends or relatives are waiting for your arrival; everything looks fine until you get to the airport and find out that the flight was significantly delayed or canceled. The holidays that you prepared with so much dedication can go to hell; it is unfair, but it happens very often. The European Union calls for mandatory compensation policies to travelers from the airlines, the problem is that very few people know about them and cannot find the information easily.
What you surely don’t know about Regulation (EC) No 261/2004:
1. 250 euros if there is a delay of three or more hours for a distance of less than 1500 km.
2. 400 euros if there is a delay of three or more hours for distances between 1500 and 3500 km.
3. 600 euros if there is a delay of 3 or more hours for distances exceeding 3500 km.
This European Directive regulates all our rights as passengers and sets a system of guaranteed compensations for the traveler. According to this regulation all European airlines in addition to meeting the basic needs of accommodation and meals, also have to attend every claim they receive about delays because by law they must provide financial compensation for delays and cancellations. The amount of compensation will depend on the contracted schedule.
The most important facts about the passenger’s rights. Or what airlines don’t want you to know.
So far everything sounds wonderful, it seems that we are fully covered under the umbrella of the European Union. But there is a problem that all passengers must deal to exercise their rights. A very common practice among airlines is to complicate this process, making it harder than what it is and causing a lot of headaches. Because of this, a large percentage of complaints are eventually forgotten and end up falling on deaf ears. It is the never ending story about the little guy trying to win a dispute against a company that has many legal remedies to complicate and delay a process that should be short and simple.
Bringing the case to a lawyer or looking for legal aid?
It sounds like a good idea because we have a legal dispute, but we all know how expensive it is to hire a good lawyer with all their costs and fees. So in most cases it is not worth it.
Luckily today exist many specialized companies that intervene in this type of litigation and make it financially worthwhile for the passenger. The most prominent of these companies, which defends the rights of passengers, is Claim Flights. This German company works with the policy of “if you don’t win – there is no pay”. In their website www.claimflights.com they provide a simple questionnaire witch which a team of lawyers instantly calculate the compensation due and take their case to the courts if necessary. If the process comes to fruition, they charge 21% of compensation. No doubt this initiative will bring many headaches for several airlines during the holidays.