Are you looking to claim compensation for a cancelled or delayed flight? Can you trust a company like Flightright to do it for you? In this review we give look at Flightright in more detail and give you the information to get the most from your claim.
A German company, Flightright.com has been in operation for almost a decade, since its inception in 2010. This makes Flightright.com one of Germany’s oldest companies in terms of flight compensation. While Flightright is ranked in the TOP5 European claim companies -and is the largest European brand – it’s not clear how big the company actually is, with a lack of accurate information in the public arena. A bona fide company, Flightright operates under EU Regulation 261/2004.
There are some elements of Flightright’s customer support services that work very well. Responses to queries for support arrive in under 24 hours and 7 languages are supported: English, German, Austrian German, French, Spanish, Italian and Swedish. As a flight compensation company, Flightright does offer customer contact via email and telephone, they are also signposted to the FAQ section to support themselves. There is a good variety of answers on offer. There is no opportunity to contact Flightright via live chat and Facebook chat is also not supported. Customer support is also generic and lacks personalisation.
Ease of Use
Using the Flightright.com site to complete a compensation claim is quite straightforward. Customers can login using their Google details, although Facebook login is not supported. The claim form is automated, making it easy to complete and user friendly. While customers can access a user area, where they can check on the status of their flight compensation claim at any time, the precise amount of the claim is not available.
Read my delayed flight compensation guide.
European Law and flight compensation
Current European law states that an airline passenger is entitled to make a claim for compensation for any booked flight that is delayed for longer than three hours.
So if the airline is at fault and the delay was caused by either technical problems with the plane, staffing issues, or delays caused by the airport flight control system, then you are perfectly entitled to put in a claim for compensation.
The actual amount of compensation that you will get through Flightright will vary according to the type of flight you have booked, for example, if it is a short-haul or a long-haul flight, and the length of delay you have suffered.
Sadly though, you may not usually find the airline offering compensation freely. In most cases, the onus on making a claim will be on your own shoulders. Whether you choose to claim or not will be entirely up to you.
This is where the airline concerned will hope that the majority of their affected passengers will not bother to make a claim – which saves them a lot of money!
So what can Flightright against these big airlines companies?
The honest truth here is that if you don’t ask – you don’t get!
If you use Flightright to claim for compensation and it gets turned down, you should stand your ground and appeal the decision. If the airline rejects your claim and states that the delay was caused by bad weather, for example, ask them for proof.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly by the airline, you can contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The CAA has a team of legal experts dedicated to handling consumers complaints. Should your claim be turned down then it would be worth approaching them for help.
The CAA actually states that over 40% of airline customers have been successful and won their claim against an airline after the CAA got involved on their behalf.
Responsibilities of the Civil Aviation Authority
It is handy to know that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is there to act as the official watchdog to ensure the ongoing safety of UK airspace as well as to manage economic regulations at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports.
The CAA is also there to protect the rights of airline passengers and deal with issues such as flight cancellations. This includes managing the ATOL scheme that handles compensation claims and flight refunds.
In essence, the CAA is on your side. Their services are free to use, so if you find yourself struggling to make a claim for compensation, it is well worth seeking out their help.
What if my Flightright claim fails due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’?
Unfortunately, Flightright may come back and say that the flight was delayed or cancelled for perfectly valid reasons.
Quite often an airline will delay a flight because bad weather conditions would hamper the flight or pose a real threat to the safety of the flight.
Where there is a genuine concern for the safety of flight passengers where there might be an increased risk of injury or a threat to life, then the airline will be taking the right actions by delaying or cancelling the affected flight.
You as a frustrated passenger may not like having your flight delayed or cancelled, but if the airlines’ motives were proven to be right and good, then, unfortunately, there is little that you can do about it.
What exactly is an extraordinary circumstance?
Ultimately, your Flightright compensation claim will depend on the underlying reason for your flight delay or cancellation. Where an airline can prove that your flight delay was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’, then, unfortunately, there will be no compensation payable.
Extraordinary circumstances are defined by events or certain situations that are beyond the control of the airline. Here are some examples of extraordinary circumstances that may apply to your flight delay or cancellation:
- A high-security risk such as a sudden severe weather event that would make conditions dangerous for flying, including low visibility from fog, heavy winds, snowstorms, sub-zero temperatures, and any other extreme weather conditions.
- A suspected security breach, bomb threat, an act of terrorism, political or civil unrest.
- Bird strikes.
- Runway closures and other air traffic control restrictions.
- Some medical emergencies.
- Strike action being taken by staff including Union actions and airport personnel strikes.
Should your flight delay or cancellation be caused by one of these issues, you will not be entitled to claim any compensation. However, you will be entitled to be supplied with an adequate level of food, drink and temporary accommodation (when necessary) depending on the length of your flight delay.
If there is a flight delay or cancellation then you should get help directly from the airline. They might give you vouchers to buy food and drink at the airport. Check with someone who works for the airline should you not be offered anything.
However, if you don’t get any help and need to buy your own food and drink, keep your receipts for your expenses. You can try to make a claim back for your expenses from the airline later on.
Most airlines will only pay out for reasonable expenses. This will depend on what rules the company has in place, but in most cases, the airline will not cover excessively expensive meals, luxury hotel rooms and alcohol.
Can you successfully challenge an extraordinary circumstance?
If you really don’t agree with the airlines’ decision that your flight delay was caused by an extraordinary circumstance, then it can be worth getting Flightright to challenge the airline.
Let’s say for example your flight has been delayed due to bad weather conditions, but you can see that other flights are still departing and landing, it would be worth investigating.
Some airlines have been known to use poor weather conditions as a blanket excuse to prevent compensation claims being made. It will be up to them to provide proof that this was the case.
Delays and cancellations due to ‘technical issues’
Another significant and relatively recent change made to the rules over what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance is that involving ‘technical problems’.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that ‘a technical problem’ can no longer be used as an extraordinary circumstance to deny paying out flight delay compensation to passengers and is binding in all European courts.
Regulation EU 261 now actively prevents airline companies from claiming ‘extraordinary circumstances’ when a flight delay is caused by technical problems. Airlines are now liable to pay compensation claims as long as the customer has reasonable grounds to do so.
Should you use Flightright and win your claim that your delay wasn’t due to exceptional circumstances, you could be entitled to up to €600 in compensation. This will depend on the length of the flight and delay you suffered, so it could be worth your while making a challenge!
What about compensation claims for lost, delayed or damaged luggage?
According to figures released by Citizens Advice, their website information on making a claim for delayed or lost luggage had over 110,000 views last year.
That is one heck of a lot of people looking for help with luggage issues in the UK!
It is unfortunate when your luggage goes missing or arrives damaged at your destination. Should your luggage be lost, gets damaged beyond repair or you find that your suitcase has been opened and has missing items, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Even if your luggage gets delayed, it is the fault of the airline and you have a legal right to compensation. However, very few people actually make a claim. This is because they may not know they can claim for delayed luggage, or they don’t want the hassle of claiming.
Top tips for making a luggage compensation claim
Should you decide to make a claim for your lost, delayed or damaged luggage then you should make your claim as soon as possible.
Urgency is important here because in most cases the airlines will only give you a week to make your claim from the date of your flight. It is worth checking the small print though just in case your airline has a shorter claim deadline.
When calculating how much you need to claim remember that the money claim will need to cover some of your basic essentials while you are away from home. These may include the cost of:
- Buying replacement toiletries
- New toothbrush and razors
- Hairbrush or comb
- New clothes and shoes
- Replacing any lost medications
Don’t forget to add on any costs for either repairing or completely replacing your lost or damaged luggage.
Check to see whether it is worth making a claim on your travel insurance or any home insurance that you carry that may also cover your luggage.
It may turn out that you could be better off and receive more money claiming through your own insurance rather than making a baggage compensation claim from the airline.
There may be restrictions in place with the airline about what you are allowed to claim for and how much money you will receive. You may also find the claims process is easier through your own insurer.
Are there many ways to make a claim?
There are a number of ways that you can claim flight compensation. For example, if your flight was ATOL protected then you will be guaranteed a complete refund in the event that an airline company collapses.
The ATOL scheme should also apply if you booked your flight through a travel agent. However, if your flight wasn’t ATOL protected you can try making a claim against your credit card company.
Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you have paid more than £100 for your flight using your credit card (in part or for the total payment) you can make a claim for compensation.
Take a look at your travel insurance policy to see what your policy covers. In most cases, you may be covered for ‘scheduled airline failure’ in the event of an airline collapse.
If you can make sure that you book ATOL-protected flights then you should have little trouble making a flight compensation claim.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the time to make a claim you can save yourself a lot of hassle by using a flight compensation company such as Flightright to work on your behalf.
What does Flightright do?
There are a lot of flight compensation companies such as Flightright to choose from and these companies act on your behalf to manage your compensation claim.
Flightright operates a ‘no win, no fee’ model. So this means that you will not have to pay any up-front fees to hire a company to claim on your behalf.
What it does mean is that the success of your claim will be in their best interest because they will only get paid if they win your case.
If you are not sure how strong a claim you have for compensation it can be worth talking to Flightright. They will only take on your case if they are pretty confident of securing a win!
With over 70% of people that attempt to handle their own claims being rejected or ignored, it is worth considering using a reputable flight compensation company.
If your claim is successful, then you can expect to pay around 25% on average out of the amount of compensation you win from the airline. You may consider that a worthwhile fee to pay considering the amount of admin work that needs to be done when making a claim.
How to choose a good flight claim compensation company
If you have never dealt with a flight compensation company like Flightright before it can be difficult to decide which one to go with. It is not a simple as choosing the one that takes less of a per cent of your claim winnings.
Instead, you should go with a company that you can trust. Look at their history and track record. Check their customer feedback and client recommendations. Look to see if they have good Trustpilot evaluations – you get to see both positive and negative feedback here!
At a minimum check out these points before deciding to hire them:
- How big is the company
- Where is it based
- How long has it been operating
- Does it have good customer feedback
I personally recommend to my friends and family a company called FairFlight as they are more established and have smoother processes with better communication. FairFlight have had a lot of positive publicity over the years, most recently being featured in the BBC and The Telegraph.
Over £1.2billion of flight compensation goes unclaimed every year. A lot of people don’t bother to make a claim simply because they don’t want the hassle or cannot afford the time to pursue a lengthy claim. If more people made the effort to claim, or they used a company like Flightright or my recommendation FairFlight, the airlines will have no other choice but to improve their services!