We recently wrote about how airlines cut costs at the expense of passengers’, and how these cost-cutting tactics contribute to delays, cancellations and overbookings. Of course, this only means more claims for compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004. But there are even ways in which airline’s attempt to avoid paying when compensation is due. Here are a couple of specific ones to watch out for, and some advice on how to avoid them.
Compensatory travel vouchers
As soon as you accept a travel voucher as compensation from an airline, you are no longer legally entitled to monetary compensation under EC 261/2004. Some companies use this to their advantage, and may try to immediately offer such things to avoid having to pay cash, which works out to be much cheaper for them.
Bad replacement flights
If you miss a connecting fight due to an initial delay or if your flight is cancelled or overbooked, you may be refunded the ticket price or be given a replacement flight. But if you have somewhere important to be, the airline’s replacement that evening or the next day might not cut it. In this situation, you might refuse the replacement offer and book entirely new flights with a different company. However, as soon as a passenger declines an airline’s replacement offer, they are similarly no longer eligible for compensation.
So, with over 5 years experience in dealing with airline complaints, here are a few words of advice to passengers:
– Always evaluate your eligibility for a payout under EC 261/2004 before accepting proposed compensation from an airline (for example, a travel voucher).
– Always accept the airline’s offer for replacement (when possible). If you absolutely must make your own plans and book new flights, you may still be eligible as this clause is not entirely clear. We have successfully won such cases in the past; so don’t hesitate to contact one of our team members at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, the more evidence you have the better. Remember that it’s the arrival delay that counts, not the departure. There can be discrepancies between an officially recorded arrival delay and the time the aircraft doors are disarmed, so always take time-stamped photos just in case you need to prove anything.
If you have experienced a delay in the past 6 years, you can easily check your eligibility online with a few simple steps.