What To Do If Your Airline Refuses Compensation After A Disrupted Flight

September 17, 2018

After you have spent months preparing for the trip of a lifetime, there are a few things more heart-breaking than a disrupted flight. Whether it is a cancellation or a delay that forces you to wait for hours in a stuffy airport, no one wants to be hit by a flight issue. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that there are plenty of reasons why your airplane might never lead the tarmac, from storm issues to problems with staff.

The good news is that air passenger laws ensure that there are options available for passengers to claim compensation when their flights are delayed or cancelled, provided that there are certain circumstances in place. Of course, many passengers do not actually know what their rights are regarding compensation and the ones that do could find themselves being turned away from the money they are owed by airlines that claim, “extraordinary circumstances.”

What Are Extraordinary Circumstances?

The laws set in place for members of the European Union and the UK dictate that flights delayed for a period of longer than three hours should be eligible for compensation. Additionally, people who are unable to reach their destination for three hours or more after their arrival time should also receive drink, food, and accommodation when necessary.

However, airlines will not be required to compensate for flight delays and cancellations if the reason for the disruption was down to extraordinary circumstances. Generally, extraordinary circumstances is a term used to refer to anything outside of the airline’s control, including weather disruptions and strikes. Of course, sometimes, airlines may attempt to claim that extraordinary circumstances where an issue, when this actually was not the case.

Finding Out Why Your Flight was Disrupted

One of the best things you can do to start arguing against a claim of extraordinary circumstances isfind out for certain why your flight was delayed or cancelled. Exceptional circumstances can sometimes come about in legitimate circumstances, as there will be instances where an airline can do nothing to prevent a delay. The first thing an airline is responsible for is your safety, so they cannot send you out on a dangerous flight.

However, finding out the exact reason for your delay will help to make sure that you are not missing out on compensation that you should be eligible for. If you are not sure how to find out why your flight was delayed, contact your airline and make sure that they give you a specific reason.

Review Your Rights as an Air Passenger

Once you have acquired a reason for your flight delay or cancellation, the next thing you will need to do is review the law as it currently stands for delayed flights. Airline passenger laws can vary from one continent to the next. However, for residents of the EU, the 3-hours or longer delay regulation currently stands. Remember that all you need to do to be eligible for compensation here is:

  • Fly to or from an EU country or the UK
  • Arrive at your destination more than 3 hours after your intended arrival time
  • Have a disruption that was caused by something within the airline’s control

You will also be entitled to compensation if your flight was overbooked or you were forcibly removed from your flight from reasons beyond your control. You are automatically eligible for compensation in the case that you are removed from an overbooked flight, regardless of how long you might be delayed for.

Arguing Against an Extraordinary Circumstances Claim

While an airline claiming extraordinary circumstances where there are none can be highly frustrating, it is important to remember that you can argue against the issue and potentially still get the compensation that you deserve. If your airline denies your compensationand you cannot change their mind by speaking to the customer service desk, then you can take them to court.

There are actually lawyers around the world today that specialize in helping people who have been denied air passenger claims get the money that they deserve. There are also groups out there that can help you to get more information about the details of your situation.

Importantly, it is also worth noting that airlines are required to pay the compensation that their customers are eligible to receive for a period of up to three years. This means that you can still be eligiblefor compensationfor flights that you did not claim for a couple of years ago. The best thing you can do in this situation is seekhelp from a professional who can guide you through the process of issuing a complaint to your airline.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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