Learn what can be done in case your flight was disrupted and the airline is not willing to compensate.
With hundreds of flights being delayed or cancelled recently, thousands of passengers are now struggling to get compensation from airlines that are not always enthusiastic about satisfying their rightful claims. However, there are ways you can further pursue your rights and get what you’re entitled to.
Why can airlines refuse to compensate?
Requirements not met
There are certain rules regulating compensations for disrupted flights, and those may vary significantly across different countries. Within the EU, for example, there’s a Flight Compensation Regulation (EC No 261/2004) that specifies terms and conditions under which passengers can be entitled to reimbursement.
Therefore, before filing a claim for compensation, it’s worth checking whether you’re eligible or not to get it.
One of the common reasons why airlines might refuse to pay compensation is that the delay or cancellation was due to “extraordinary circumstances.” These are any circumstances resulting in flight disruption that are beyond airlines’ control, such as bad weather, political unrest, airport workers’ strikes, etc.
However, sometimes airlines can define the term “extraordinary circumstances” rather broadly or vaguely in their reluctance to reimburse.
An alternative flight was provided
Also, if the airline informed you about the flight cancellation more than 14 days before the due date, you won’t be able to get compensation (but you might get a ticket refund if you don’t take a re-routing flight.)
If you were informed about the cancellation less than 14 days in advance, but you were booked onto an alternative flight that arrived less than four hours after your original flight, compensation is not provided as well.
What to do if your claim was rejected?
Find out the actual reason
If your compensation claim is denied, the airline should state the reason for that. In reality, rejections are often explained by “extraordinary circumstances causing the disruption,” meaning the airline sheds all responsibility for the delay or cancellation.
Although this might be true in some cases, it would be helpful to get the airline to specify the actual reason for the disruption, such as “technical malfunction,” etc. Sometimes they would change their initial decision, if one is insistent enough.
Escalate your claim
You can also try to escalate your claim to a National Enforcement Body (NEB) or Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes (ADR) that provide assistance to resolving disputes.
For example, here you can find information on National Enforcement Bodies for air transport. As for ADRs, you’ll need to find out whether your airline is a member of one of them to be able to escalate.
Take legal action
In case neither of the above has worked, starting a small claims court case can be another way to challenge the compensation refusal. However, taking your complaint to court is a serious endeavour, so you need to be 100% certain of your rightfulness.
Preparations and hearing of the case will take time and effort, and the outcome might still not be positive. So it would be a sound idea to find a good lawyer to help you handle the case.
How can Skycop help?
If you’re not especially drawn to dealing with airlines, regulatory bodies, ADRs and lawyers, you can as well delegate all this red tape proceedings to Skycop. Our seasoned experts will handle all the negotiations for you and maximise your chances to get reimbursement. Besides, we only charge you commission for the positive outcome—you don’t pay anything if the claim is rejected.