This summer, millions of passengers will fly between the United States and Europe, and thousands will see their plans ruined by a significant flight delay. In an analysis of the top ten routes between the two continents, flightright (www.flightright.com), the company that fights for the compensation owed to passengers when their flights are delayed or cancelled, estimates that at least $80 million in delayed flight compensation will be due to delayed passengers this year alone.
However, most of the $80 million will never be paid to these delayed passengers because most travelers are unfamiliar with the European law that requires airlines to compensate them when their flight is delayed or cancelled. Even fewer people know that US citizens and residents can also benefit from the law, which states that passengers who are delayed on routes between the U.S. and Europe and flying with an EU-registered carrier are eligible for up to $800 in compensation from their carrier.
"Roughly 12 million passengers fly the most popular routes between the US and Europe every year. Even if less than one percent were delayed, that amounts to more than $80 million that should have been paid out. We believe that many people never even filed a claim -- or if they did, it was rejected by the airline," says Marek Janetzke, managing director of Berlin-based flightright. "We've developed a reputation in Europe for being the company with very broad experience working with airlines, and we're here to help US travelers get the money they deserve when their vacation or business trip is ruined."
Since it began operations in 2010, flightright has helped more than 400,000 passengers with their claims, and has an industry-leading 98 percent success rate resolving cases brought to court. Founded by a German lawyer, and staffed with international personnel with deep experience battling the airlines' legal teams, flightright offers international travelers a simple and stress-free way to get the compensation they deserve.
"Airlines will try all sorts of tactics to avoid paying compensation, and many passengers just give up after their letters or phone calls are ignored," says Janetzke. "To avoid paying what the passenger is rightfully owed, airlines may offer a lesser amount, or offer vouchers or bonus frequent flyer miles. Some send a letter from their lawyers citing the EU regulation, hoping to convince passengers that they don't have a valid case. Our legal team handles all interaction with the airline and pursues the full amount owed. And we don't take no for an answer."
Compensation can be claimed for a wide variety of flight problems
Flightright has successfully secured compensation for airline passengers for a wide variety of causes, including computer problems, technical malfunctions on the aircraft, problems during refueling, and inflight technical issues. Airport and check-in snafus can also be grounds for compensation. These include being denied boarding, crew rotation problems, sickness of a crewmember, staffing issues such as a shortage of technical crew, duty controls, check-in problems, problems with luggage, boarding mistakes, and departures delayed while waiting for passengers or cargo to arrive from a connecting flight.
In order to receive compensation from an airline, the flight cancellation or delay must meet the following criteria. First, the flight must be operated by an EU-regulated airline. This means the passenger is either departing from any airport within the EU on any airline, or is flying into Europe on an EU-based airline. In addition, both the distance of the flight and the duration of the delay affect the amount of compensation passengers may be able to claim. This can range from 125 - 600 euros ($160 - $800) per person.
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