Are you planning to use Bott and Co to get money back for a delayed or cancelled flight? If so, read this short review.
UK-based consumer law firm Bott and Co has a particular expertise in flight delay compensation claims. The company has been in existence since 2001, and their flight delay department was established in February 2013. Recognised as the most trusted source on flight compensation law and EU Regulation 261, Bott and Co is the only practising law firm to have taken landmark flight delay cases to the Supreme Court and won. The firm have a headcount of over 120 staff. As well as dealing with flight delay, cancellation and denied boarding claims, they also deal with mis sold car finance and road traffic accident claims.
Bott and Co has a good response rate through customer requests to its website, with mostly instant responses. The language barrier remains for many international travellers as Bott and Co is a single language site, with that language set as English. Although there is no option for live chat, via the Bott and Co website, customers can get in touch by email or telephone, or via Facebook chat.
Some elements of the Bott and Co claim process may make flight compensation claims more customer friendly. The website is mobile responsive and the online claim form is automated and easy to complete. However, there’s no way to track the status of the claim. The firm offers an understanding of exact compensation amounts here. Bott and Co will take customers through the flight compensation process, and offer free advice and tools such as a free downloadable claims letter for people who wish to go directly to the airline.
On the one hand, Bott and Co shares a lot of company activity freely, and although there is currently no way of finding information about the team behind the flight compensation arm of the company, there is a profile for Coby Benson, who played an integral part in establishing the department.
There are a range of reviews that can be found online for Bott and Co, including on Facebook, Feefo, Trust Pilot, Google Reviews and Review Solicitors. Over the years, they’ve collected many awards at prestigious ceremonies, including “Law Firm of the Year” and “Legal Team of the Year.” Bott and Co has a customer service rating of 4.8/5 on Feefo and holds the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service award, an independent seal of excellence that recognises continued efforts in delivering an exceptional service and experience, as rated by real customers.
Bott and Co meets GDPR requirements and is ISO 27001 Certified. It is also accredited by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Lexel, Cyber Essentials Plus and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
What is a Flight Compensation Company?
In short, businesses like Bott and Co 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 2015 (6 years as per the regulation). 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 Bott and Co 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, Bott and Co 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 Bott and Co feels as though you have been shunned by the airline and you meet the requirements for a claim, they will take it further. Bott and Co 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 administration fee if your claim us unsuccessful:
- British Airways
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 Bott and Co 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. Bott and Co can do this for you.
The Pros and Cons of Using Bott and Co
Many people decide to use a compensation company like Bott and Co 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
- Many Claims Management Companies (CMCs) are unregulated, making it hard to know who is official. However, law firms such as Bott and Co are regulated by the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority).
Flight compensation isn’t a difficult process, but it can be time-consuming. Using Bott and Co, 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.