Air travel has become as common as land travel, which means we have seen a surge of low cost, budget airlines popping up. To say that the skies have become crowded is an understatement, and inevitably with that much traffic, things are not always going to run to plan. That is why it is essential to know the compensation rules if you are going to be a savvy flyer.
Stop Being So British
Have you ever noticed how people in the UK are terribly polite? When someone walks into you in a crowd, do you apologise? You are not alone! For some reasons we feel that even if we are the wronged party we should say sorry to the other side or just put up and shut up, no matter the consequences. The same is often the case for air travel. Hundreds of passengers face delays every day and yet very few ever consider taking action but instead focus on sorting the inconvenience at their own expense. If the skies are going to become so busy, it is paramount for passenger safety that we hold airlines to account for incompetent or poorly organised travel. Some delays may well be outside of their control but like the recent Ryan Air staff holiday debacle sometimes it really is down to poor management, and that needs to be highlighted. So, the first thing you can do is know when to claim compensation, how to claim and make sure you follow through. This is the best way to ensure airlines understand they need to be organised and safe.
So When Can You Claim?
Under EU law, any flight that departed from an EU country becomes liable for compensation after it has been delayed for 2 hours. Initially, this is at a fundamental onsite level, whereby you should be offered food and drink, accommodation where needed and given means to make telephone calls or emails. After three hours the bar moves again and depending on the length of flight (how far away you were going), and how much longer you have been delayed there is an open channel for compensation.
There are directives on the amount you can claim, and while it may not be much, consider your own personal stress. If you have had to rearrange plans, get other people to change their itineraries or missed connecting flights a delay of 3 hours might not sound too bad, but it can actually be very disruptive. People have missed significant family events or important business meetings, and the impact of these should not be overlooked. If you feel that you are headed towards a possible compensation claim, then start keeping records and gathering evidence. You have to acknowledge anything the airport provided so keep receipts or copies of vouchers used. You mobile is excellent for recording events that happen, and this is now considered admissible evidence, so this is another valuable tip for anyone who travels by air.
Once you have your proof be sure to submit your claim.