I was recently delayed on a flight from Europe to the United States. The delay was over 3 hours. The fault was definitely with the airline as this was a mechanical issue. The problem was so bad that they had to bring in another airplane. Hence the delay was over 3 hours.
So, about 3 AM I get a call from the airline telling me 10:30 AM flight was going to be delayed. They wanted to know if I would accept the new flight. So I called because I wasn’t interested in being delayed. Well, apparently there were no other options to choose from. So, I it is perplexing as to why they would ask me to accept something when there were no other options available!
While I was on the phone, I asked for compensation. “Oh, you have to ask customer relations about that. Maybe you could get a voucher since it is over 3 hours.”
So, when I got to my destination I attempted to contact customer relations. Well, guess what, there is no phone number to reach them at. There is no chat and there is no email address. You have to fill out a web form.
I did that. I told them the flight number, my record locator number and all the other information they requested. So, there is no way they could have looked up the wrong flight. I explained that my flight had been delayed by more than 3 hours and I would like some compensation for this delay.
I had to wait at least 2 days for a reply. It might have been more. When I got the reply, it said something like this: We are sorry for your inconvenience. We are sorry that your flight was delayed due to weather. We can’t help that. I hope that this will not change your opinion of xxxx airline.
Right then and there, I understood that this was an avoidance tactic. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the weather.
I tried to respond back to the same email address that I received this message from. Guess what? It was an email address that ‘wasn’t monitored’. That is not good customer service and on top of that they were trying to avoid providing any compensation. I would have been happy with a flight voucher. But not even that… Instead, some obvious attempt to deflect me.
I was frustrated to say the least. I didn’t feel like spending another 30 minutes finding their customer portal and inputting all that information again. It was clear that my first message was not handled with care and that the response was designed to push me away from getting any type of compensation.
I did a little searching and I came upon a company called AirHelp. They specialize in getting you monetary compensation (not vouchers). I would have been fine with a voucher but the airline didn’t seem to be willing to provide this level of customer service. In fact, just the opposite. It was the old game of frustrating you to the point that you give up.
This is not respectable behavior in my opinion. They need to serve their customers properly.
I decided to give AirHelp a chance. It was founded by a guy who had a similar problem. The airline also tried to deny him. He made them pay. There are laws that govern this type of thing and the airlines know it. But they hope you DON’T know and that you will never find out.
I submitted my claim to AirHelp. They say I may be eligible for the equivalent of over $700 in compensation. For their part they will take 25% and possibly 50% if it goes to court. Well, I’ll take $350 if they are successful. And the airline will hopefully learn a lesson. They can’t get away with these avoidance tactics.
Airhelp as processed tens of millions of dollars in claims – according to an article on wired.com . So, I may have to wait a few months or even longer for my compensation. But if it comes through I will have saved time and frustration and if it works, I think AirHelp deserves their share.
I want to let people know about this experience. I hope it helps you. Please leave a comment if you have experiences to share about delayed flights and compensation.
You know, the truth is, this article points out my shortcomings. I should be a better person, let them keep the money, suffer the loss, and move on.
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