Money out of thin air: how to get compensation for flight delays

Money out of thin air: how to get compensation for flight delays

According to the decision of the European Parliament and of the Council EC No. 261, passengers whose flight was cancelled or delayed more than three hours, unable to the carriers and from €200 to €600. This rule applies to flights of the European airlines worldwide flights and any companies from European countries. This way, clients are Russian airlines, which fly from Europe, may also qualify for the money — unlike those who fly by them on Russia, the US or Asia. The fact that Russia has not yet acceded to the Montreal Convention, which unifies the obligation of air carriers to passengers.

The key factor that allows to receive compensation, the reason for the cancellation or delay of flight. “It must be the fault of the airline — for example, problems with the aircraft or any technical reasons, — explains Eugene lonskij, regional Director of the international service for compensation AirHelp in Eastern Europe. — Other cases, such as terrorist attacks, strikes and bad weather are not compensable”.

The amount of compensation under the EC regulation depends on two factors: range flights and time delays. So, if the flight was delayed more than three hours, and its range is less than 1500 km, the airline must pay the passenger of €250. If the delay is more than four hours, and the flights more than 3500 km, the amount increases to €600. Eugene lonskij notes that for long delays, the airline must also provide passengers with water, food and provide hotel. But this does not exempt the carrier from having to pay compensation. “The law clearly States that if the plane arrived late more than three hours, is entitled to compensation,” says lonskij.

To claim compensation for several years. “It depends on the country in which the airline or by the country of departure — if we are not talking about European companies. This is usually a period of two years, as in Spain, to six, as in England,” says Roman Gilmanov, General Director of the Russian company Compensair, the service operator receiving compensation from airlines.

How to claim compensation

A trivial way is to contact the airline yourself. The most important thing is to keep boarding passes, as some companies without them do not consider the treatment, says lonskij. Gilmanov also advises to take from employees of the airline or the airport a certificate stating that the flight is delayed. In a pinch you can take a picture of the scoreboard flights (Charter flights, according to the expert, sometimes poorly monitored databases). If the client will have to go to court, this photo can also be evidence of a flight delay, Gilmanov says.

Next you need to make English the online application or a written complaint to the airline (depending on its rules). For this you need to understand what compensation you can claim, to describe the circumstances and specify, based on what points of law are entitled to compensation, Gilmanov says. The response of the airline can be expected in 1-3 months, adds lonskij.

While companies often ignore the primary customer or automatically send a rejection, say the experts. “The problem passenger — the next step to prove that his case occurred through the fault of the airline. So it is important to examine the precedents, when the company was found guilty, and be legally competent response to the objection,” says Gilmanov from Compensair. If at this stage the company refuses to pay, you need to contact the court of the European city, where the head office of the carrier.

If we are not talking about European companies, the claim must be submitted in the country of departure, but only if the carrier has an office there, says lonskij of AirHelp.

Photo: Andrew Parsons / Zuma / TASS

What services can help

In the world there are many companies that are engaged in communication with the carrier and may request the passenger to go to court. Apart from the already mentioned AirHelp and Compensair are services, Flightright and Flight Delays. In March a similar service launches website

The Russians seek compensation rarely says lonskij of AirHelp. “Many believe that the European legislation only applies to European citizens. But this is not so, delay no nationality,” he says. In the system of AirHelp, according to Lenskogo, now about 256 thousand applications, Russian — only 488. Gilmanov from Compensair says that now his company works with about a thousand of Russian cases. About 80% of clients of the service — Russian-speaking, and half of these people live in Russia.

Most of all — about 60% of the cases, the airlines agree to pay compensation at an early stage, i.e. during correspondence with the managers of the service, Gilmanov says. If the airline rejects the application for compensation, it is transferred to the legal Department of the service, and 80-90% of these cases are resolved at the level of correspondence of lawyers with the airline, experts say. In other cases it is necessary to address in bodies of consumers rights protection in European countries, and then to the court, and 98% of litigation services win, says lonskij.

The Commission services is the standard value of 25% of the amount of the payment received. will further hold another 10%. All payment services charge only after receiving the consent payment from the airline. If you are unable to obtain compensation, the client pays nothing.

How long to wait for compensation

Gilmanov notes that compensation through the intermediary takes from several weeks to six months. “Mode of communication with the airline, that is, without a trial, we usually get the money within two months. If we go to court, the case can last a long time. For example, we recently won a court case in the Netherlands, and cycle time was more than six months,” he says. About the same time frame and calls lonskij of AirHelp.

However, in difficult cases waiting time can be large. Russian Jan Costin in July last year filed Compensair application for compensation from Air France. The reason was not late, and the fuzzy operation ticketing airline service. In June, Kostin had to fly from Marseille to Moscow with a stopover in Paris. However, began the strike of Air France pilots, which a few days before departure he changed the tickets. In the second option both flights — from Marseilles to Paris and from Paris to Moscow are performed at the same time. Kostin demanded to change the tickets again. The new route was via Rome, the tickets were a misprint. “The airline made a mistake in one letter: instead of Jun (“JUN”) was listed January (“JAN”). Therefore, Rome had to communicate with the airline and again to change the tickets,” — said Kostin.

Lawyers Compensair, checking the application, decided that the airline should pay compensation. The money came Kostin in early March.

As explained Gilmanov, Air France long enough agreed to pay compensation, but not transferred the money to the service. “Only after we started working with authorities on consumer protection in the country of departure and only when we sent a letter, warning about the beginning of the trial, the airline transferred the money,” he says.

Whether to use the services of intermediaries

Deputy Chairman of the public Council under the Federal Agency for tourism Dmitry Davydenko believes “compensatory” services are convenient. “This is a common legal services supplied to the conveyor. For example, if you have the amount of claims 5-10 thousand rubles., for the sake of wasting time going to a law firm is probably meaningless. Fill out the form on the website much easier,” he explains.

A Commission of 25% he believes is justified, especially given the fact that the services take it only in case of satisfaction of claim. In principle, the passenger can deal with the return yourself, if you have the time and desire. If not — it is possible to trust other people, said Davydenko.

However, an expert on civil aviation and the head of the portal Sergey Martirosyan advised to think carefully before you turn to intermediaries. “If people fundamentally want to get from the airline money, but does not want to understand the legal intricacies, it makes sense to access the services. However, carriers can often negotiate on the spot,” he says.

According to Martirosyan, many airlines have a reputation and you agree to compensate the time any bonuses-such as to give the passenger miles or upgrade on your next flight. Thus, the expert still recommends that you first write to the carrier and try to negotiate the form of compensation. If the airline does not make concessions, it is necessary to make a claim, he concluded.

Chairman of civil aviation of the public Council of Rostransnadzor Oleg Smirnov more categorical. He believes that air passengers need to protect their rights on their own. “Instead of entrusting the operation of such services to earn on ignorance, it is better to understand the laws, and since the Constitution based on these laws, go to court. And the court will be on the side of the consumer,” concludes the expert.