Are you planning to use AirHelp to get money back for a delayed or cancelled flight? If so, read this short review.
If you’re looking for one of the biggest players in flight compensation, then Airhelp should be right up your street. Although it has been around since 2013, this American company is growing – fast! Over 500 employees are on hand to assist with compensation in cases of overbooking or flight delay and cancellation. Not only is Airhelp the world’s largest flight claim company, but it operates under EU Regulation 261/2004, demonstrating that it is a bona fide claim brand.
Airhelp is works hard to offer personalised customer services, from giving customers a representative who will oversee each case personally to the ways in which customers can get in touch. As well as setting out the process clearly in the FAQ section on the Airhelp website, more tailored assistance is freely available via email, phone, live chat on the Airhelp site or by Facebook chat. Airhelp provides instant responses to flight claims but you can also count on overcoming the language barrier in any one of 15 languages: English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese Greek, Italian, Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, Russian and Romanian. Customers will also receive a personalised response from their nominated customer representative, rather than a blanket reply.
Airhelp offers a very transparent system when it comes to monitoring compensation claims. Whether claiming on a late flight or one that passengers were bumped off because of overbooking, it’s simple to check on the status of the claim, through the Airhelp website, at any time. The online claim form that document claims is simple to use. Collating all the information for a claim can be time-consuming, however Airhelp is on hand with tools to help drill down to the details. They offer travel maps, airline ratings and airport information. To access Airhelp’s support, users must be prepared to register using social media logins or an email address, which may work for some travellers but not for others.
Read my delayed flight compensation guide.
What is a Flight Compensation Company?
In short, businesses like AirHelp work to claim compensation for your cancelled or delayed flight. All you need to do is provide them with the necessary details and evidence so that they can take care of the rest. They are quite a popular choice for those who are faced with fighting airlines for their money back, and it’s easy to see why. Below, you will find out all about the compensation process as well as why you should, or should not, choose a flight compensation company.
When Can You Make a Claim on Your Flight?
Before I say anything else, let me tell you that you can actually claim as far back as 2013. Some have been able to go back even further, but it is highly unlikely that you will be able to succeed with this. However, it is good information to have before you go forward – especially if you have suffered past cancellations and delays without knowing you could claim it back.
You can make a claim on your flight if it has been delayed or cancelled, but there is some fine print which AirHelp will check: In the case of delays, compensation is only viable for flights that arrive three or more hours late. I’d like to note that this is the arrival time, so it doesn’t matter if your flight leaves five hours late, if it arrives two hours late you are not eligible for compensation.
I will also note that the arrival time is based on when the plane opens at least one of its doors. So, even if it lands and stays still with the doors closed for a while, you can keep counting the minutes. The three-hour rule also refers to compensation, but not a refund. Compensation is also per person, and paid in euros, so do beware of potential fluctuations according to the exchange rate.
If you want to make a claim, it has to be the fault of the airline. This means that it is something within the airline’s control like being understaffed or under-booked; even overbooked. There is a list of EU guidelines, and although they are not legally binding, they do offer some good insight. Let’s take a look at some of the scenarios you can’t claim back for:
- Bad weather
- Industrial action
- Security issues
- Air traffic management choices
- Technical issues
- Political issues
What about the situations that are actually the fault of the airline? I’ve got you covered:
- The crew are late (including the pilot)
- Late document submission
- Technical issues caused by routine procedures
It’s not always easy to tell if the delay was caused by the airline or not, AirHelp will contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for more information. While it does rely on the airlines for an explanation regarding the delay, it does tend to be quite accurate and reliable when going to make a claim.
Don’t worry if the airline says no to your claim; all is not lost. If AirHelp feels as though you have been shunned by the airline and you meet the requirements for a claim, they will take it further. AirHelp offers a no win no fee policy, and the majority of airlines don’t actually charge for you to take things further. However, the following do have a £25 fee if your claim us unsuccessful:
- British Airways
- Thomas Cook
What About Bumps and Downgrades?
This is a pretty common question, and one that I will happily cover in this section. What happens if your flight gets bumped or downgraded? The good news? You are entitled to compensation for both of these situations.
Most airlines book more seats than there are on the plane, because they don’t expect everyone to show up. If they do, some passengers will be asked to wait for a later flight because they can’t fit everyone on the plane. They will ask for volunteers first, and in this case, the amount of compensation is between you and the airline. A lot of the time it is in the form of vouchers or cash, a seat on the next available flight, and accommodation if it is required.
If there are no volunteers, the airline will refuse boarding to some passengers; usually those with the cheapest seats or last to board. If this happens to you, it is possible to claim money back from the airline. This is dependent on the length of the flight, and the distance travelled, with the exact figures being found in the next section.
If you have been removed from a higher class and put in a lower one, you may also be eligible for compensation based on this. The additional compensation tends to be determined when you are making a claim, and many people choose to hire the services of a flight compensation company like AirHelp to ensure they have the best chance at success. If you get to board the plane, you will not be eligible for a full refund, but you can claim a good chunk of your ticket back; the details of which are in the next section.
How Much Can You Claim?
This is the big question that I am sure is on the tip of your tongue – how much can you claim? The total amount does vary according to the circumstances in question, and that’s what I am about to go through below.
- For flights that are delayed more than three hours, you can expect to receive up to £530 (600 euros) back from the airline. This applies if you arrive at your destination three hours later than planned.
- If you end up getting bumped to a different flight, you can also claim up to £530 (600 euros), depending on the arrival time and the distance travelled.
- If you are delayed for more than five hours, you can get a refund. It doesn’t matter what causes the delay; you are entitled to all of your money back for any parts of your booking that have not been used.
- Flights that have been cancelled completely can choose to have a refund or new flight, and may even be able to apply for compensation. This is where the compensation companies really shine through.
- For those who have ended up getting downgraded, you can claim up to 75% off your ticket depending on how long your flight was.
What You’re Entitled to and Things to Remember
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, there are certain things that you are entitled to as a result. These should be provided by your airline, in accordance with their policy, so that you are comfortable while you wait:
- Food and drink. All airlines should provide this, regardless of the reason for the delay. Usually, it will come in the form of vouchers, or you can claim back later. It will happen if you are delayed for more than two hours on a short-haul flight, three hours on medium-haul, and four hours on long-haul.
- Accommodation. If your flight ends up being delayed overnight, you are entitled to accommodation. Normally, the airline will book this for you, but you may end up needing to do it yourself and then claim back the cost later.
- Information. You should always know what is happening, and it is the duty of your airline to keep you informed at all times. This could be via email, text, or a flight tracker.
In the next section, I am going to take you through how you apply for flight compensation and the way the process works. However, before you can even think about that there are a few things you need to remember. Without the following, your claim may not succeed:
- Evidence. You need to keep hold of all your receipts so that you can use them as proof of your flight, as well as any receipts from meals and accommodation that are to be covered by the airline (depending on policy).
- EU regulations. It has to be an EU regulated flight in order for you to receive compensation. If a non-regulation flight was cancelled or delayed, there are ways in which you can get money back, but you will need to explore different avenues.
The Flight Compensation Process
The process is actually a pretty short one; which is good news for everyone. There are only a few steps that you need to follow, and many will only need to pay attention to the first and second.
#1 Check Your Eligibility. The first thing you need to do is ensure that you are actually eligible for compensation from the flight company. You can easily determine this using the above sections as a reference to see if you match the criteria. Once you have done this, you can move onto steps two and three.
#2 Make Your Complaint. Gather all of your evidence and write your complaint to the airline in question. Make sure it is detailed, and let them know everything that went wrong. Let them know what you expect, and attach all of the evidence to back your claim. If there are food and accommodation costs that need to be compensated, attach these as well.
#3 Taking Things Further. If the airline refuses your claim and you find this to be unfair, you will need to take things to the next level. For this stage, you need to take your complaint to the CAA and ask them to take further action. They will then investigate the case and do their best to ensure you are fully compensated.
#4 If the CAA is unable to help, you can take it to court. This can be expensive, so you will really need to decide whether or not it is worth the time, effort, stress, and money to claim your compensation. If it is, the process is a little more complex and requires a bit more research. The best thing you can do is seek the advice of your solicitor in order to build your case and make the first steps towards your court case. AirHelp can do this for you.
The Pros and Cons of Using AirHelp
Many people decide to use a compensation company like AirHelp when claiming back for their flights, and these have advantages and disadvantages; as with anything in life. It is here that I will list them all for you so that you can decide if it is the right course of action for you.
- Saves you a lot of time and effort
- Experts take over the case for you
- There is often a higher success rate with them
- Most of them are no win no fee
- The process is often faster overall
- Some companies charge exceptionally high fees
- They are unregulated, making it hard to know who is official
Flight compensation isn’t a difficult process, but it can be time-consuming. Using AirHelp, or my personal recommendation, FairFlight can really take a lot of hassle out of the claims process. While there are some cons to using them, there are also plenty of advantages. As long as you do your research and ensure you are using a reputable company to make your claim, it really can be a lifesaver when you are looking to get your money back.