Forgoing compensation: US passengers
give airlines working hours and money
• Lowest potential compensation payout of 250 Euros equivalent to 12 US working hours at average salary
• Only ten per cent of entitled passengers know their rights
• Only two per cent of passengers enforce their rights to compensation for delayed and cancelled flights
Potsdam, 9th July 2015 – US American airline passengers effectively give up one and a half workdays to airlines when they elect not to claim compensation. This is the result of a global comparison study conducted by compensation service provider refund.me.
Under EU regulation 261/2004 airlines are obligated to compensate customers in the event of delays, cancellations or re-bookings. Compensation ranges from 250 to 600 Euros depending on the nature and duration of travel disruption.
Only ten percent of passengers are aware of their rights to compensation and a mere two percent apply for it. Airlines often put up a fight against passengers entitled to compensation payouts and consequently only a minority of passengers attempt the refund process, perceiving the process to be too complicated or difficult.
With this in mind, refund.me calculated the amount of working hours airline passengers from various countries give away to airlines when they forgo enforcing a claim for the lowest potential compensation payout of 250 Euros.
With an average income of 20.56 Euros an hour, the 12 hours US passengers are required to put in to earn 250 Euros is comparatively little. Of the examined countries only a Monégasque worker puts in less time. Roughly three hours of work are required to make 250 Euros with an average wage of 80 Euros and hour. In all other examined countries those entitled to compensation are required to sweat away more hours.
With an average income of 15.63 Euros an hour, German passengers who forgo enforcing their compensation claims give the airlines two full eight-hour workdays. In neighbouring Switzerland and Austria the amount of time donated is somewhat less, at 13.3 and 14.5 hours, since the average income in these Alpine nations is at 18.06 and 17.22 Euros, respectively.
Passengers from other European countries waste significantly more of their precious time than the Germans, Austrians and Swiss: in the UK, for example, the average hourly wage is 14.69 Euros.
Accordingly, UK citizens are required to work just over 17 hours. The French, with an average hourly wage of 13.50 Euros, must work 18.5 hours to earn their compensation entitlement. In Italy and Spain one must put in almost 22 hours (the average income being at 11.48 and 11.41 Euros). Making up the rear among EU countries are Lithuania, Bulgaria and, lastly, Romania, where the
average hourly wage is 5.21 Euros. Romanians are therefore required to put in 48 hours of work to reach 250 Euros.
Conditions are considerably worse on other continents. The Chinese are required to work 64.5 hours to earn 250 Euros. The average hourly wage is very low at 3.88 Euros and lags behind Brazil (53.5 hours / 5 Euros) and Thailand (64 hours / four Euros). Last place goes to the Democratic Republic of Congo: With an hourly wage of just 15 cents the Congolese have to work for a whopping 1667 hours to earn the equivalent of the lowest compensation payout. That comes to 208 eight hour work days.
“With a policy of limited information on behalf of the airlines only very few passengers are aware of their entitlement to compensation,” explains Eve Büchner, founder and CEO of refund.me. “Those who know of their rights and seek to enforce these with the airlines, are quite often kept at bay and drowned in endless paperwork. However, those who don’t give it a try give the airlines cash and precious amounts of their time.”