How to get your money back if your flight is delayed or cancelled
Today PaySpace Magazine would like to talk about such an unfortunate situation as flight delay/cancellation. We’ll explain what you have to do in order to get fair and adequate compensation if an airline fails to get you to your final destination.
Basically, a plane ticket is a passenger’s contract with the airline, which guarantees that it delivers a ticket owner to the final destination or compensates for losses if the flight does not take place. First of all, you need to stay calm and follow the simple instructions:
- save your boarding pass and all the additional documents (if you have them);
- find out the reason for the flight delay/cancellation;
- do not hesitate to take a picture of a flight display, showing where the flight is delayed or save a message in which the airline confirms the delay;
- document the time of arrival at the final destination;
- contact airline representatives and ask for drinks and meals;
- ask the airline to provide hotel accommodation (if necessary).
If a flight delay entails additional costs (apparently, within reasonable limits), be sure to save all receipts since all these costs must be compensated. Do not sign any documents or accept vouchers so as not to automatically waive the right to financial compensation.
You have the right for financial compensation, as well as the provision of food and drink if your flight is delayed, and this compensation depends on the length of the delay. The airline also undertakes to provide passengers with a hotel room if the flight is delayed until the next day. Transportation to and from the hotel is paid by the airline.
As we’ve mentioned above, the type and amount of compensation depend on the duration of the delay. In addition, there are cases in which a hitch is not the fault of the airline. For example, adverse weather conditions, a strike of airport workers, etc. In the case of a strike of airline employees, the airline company is obliged to compensate for the losses, as it is responsible for its employees.
If you want to clarify what compensation the airline is obliged to provide, you need to know:
- the reason for the delay;
- the country where the airline is registered;
- the convention that the country has adopted to regulate the operation of its airlines.
You can also ask the airline staff to provide a means of communication (to call or send an e-mail) if you want to notify the persons that are supposed to meet you or your nearest and dearest about the delay.
A passenger can count on the following support and compensation from the airline (according to the length of the delay and flight range):
- means of communication with families and friends;
- drinks and meals at the airport;
- hotel room and transportation there and back to the airport;
- reimbursement of expenses related to the delay; for example, the purchase of essentials;
- financial compensation for the delay.
A company may offer another flight to the same destination. If it is the flight with connections and the passenger is late for it, the airline must provide flights direct to the final destination, taking into account any transfers.
The passenger is also entitled to refuse the flight and demand the return of the unused cost of the ticket. The airline has the right to offer to wait for a flight or provide a flight on more favorable terms. You can agree to the company’s terms, but remember that it is important not to sign any documents or accept any vouchers. They may automatically prevent you from receiving financial compensation.
Now let’s see what you may have in terms of the length of the delay:
If the flight is delayed for 1 hour, the passenger may demand a phone call or a computer in order to send an e-mail. At this time, it is better to clarify the reason for the delay with the airline staff and act normal (no panic, fuss, etc). If you cannot find a single employee of the company, contact the hotline or an airport employee.
A delay of 2 hours involves the provision of passengers with drinks and snacks. Parents with young children under 7 years old must be provided with unhindered access to the mother-and-child room. Passengers can still request the use of the means of communication.
After 3 hours, the airline must provide food and drinks to passengers, as well as put forward proposals for rebooking tickets for another flight to the same point.
Passengers can use the services at the airport for free, make 2 calls or send an e-mail/fax. Parents can use the mother-and-baby room.
After a five-hour flight delay, the airline can offer a refund of the cost of the ticket within 7 days, as well as getting you back to the starting point of the route if continuing the journey no longer makes sense.
After 6 hours’ delay at night, the airline must provide the passenger with a hotel room, as well as free transport to and from the hotel. If the flight is delayed in the daytime, the same rule works for 8 hours’ delay.
After 12 hours of a flight delay, a passenger can still be accommodated in a hotel room. The company must also compensate for losses incurred by the passenger when purchasing essential goods. Be sure to save the receipts in order to prove you’ve bought the stuff.
How to get flight delay compensation?
You must collect a set of documents to receive compensation. Normally, it consists of:
- Flight information: route, number, and date;
- Booking number;
- Boarding pass, ticket or flight booking letter (anyhow, it has to be a document, which confirms that you’ve bought a ticket).
Next, you need to apply with a pre-trial claim to the airline.
Note: If the company has been given advance notice of a flight delay, you can choose another flight or refuse to take the flight. If this delay violates the planned transfer, the company has to give you compensation.