Of the many horrible things about flying, one of the worst is feeling powerless in the face of an authoritarian bureaucracy. The dealings can get even more hostile after a flight has been delayed or cancelled, because I suspect that every airline’s official policy can be boiled down to “Screw ’em.”
Put more delicately, there’s a power imbalance between airlines and customers because there’s an information imbalance. They know what they owe passengers whose flights have been cancelled or delayed, they don’t have to give it us unless we ask, but we don’t know what to ask for.
That’s why I was thrilled when I heard about apps that will fight that battle for you:
What Can You Be Compensated For?
You have different rights depending on the country you’re flying into or out of. These services seem to have the most experience with Europe, though they’ve also expanded to other countries.
- Delays into, out of, or within Europe
- Boarding denials (for example, if you’re bumped because the flight is overbooked)
- Tarmac delays
- Boarding denials
- Lost, delayed, or damaged luggage
How does it work?
You give them your flight info to see if you’re entitled to compensation. If yes, they’ll file a claim for you and send you a check if you win.
How much does it cost?
All these services are free to use. You pay only if you win the claim, and the amount varies across companies and depends on whether they have to take the airline to court.
Please note: I wrote about these services because they seem useful and are ones I want to try next time I have a nightmare flight. I am getting no compensation of any kind for writing about them.