Your right to compensation in case of cancelled or delayed flights is protected under the European regulation EU 261/2004, which safeguards passengers’ rights.
The regulation was established initially for the passengers who were denied their boarding and for those who suffered due to cancelled flights. In October 2012, an EU 261 clarification permitted passengers to file for EU airline claims for delays exceeding three hours.
Options under European flight delay compensation
As a passenger, you enjoy a number of European flight delay compensation options. Some of them are:
Go directly to the airline concerned
You can initiate the EU airline claims process by yourself. You just have to write to the customer service department of the concerned airline, stating your complete flight details. Include any extra costs you may have incurred due to the delay. It is advisable not to send any kind of original documentation when you file for the European flight delay compensation on your own. It is also better to keep a copy of any communication or letters from the concerned airline, in case you need the help of a solicitor or want to take the matter to the court.
Claim through CAA
You can also file your EU airline claims through Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It is an organisation funded by various airlines. The CAA, however, has no power when it comes to enforcing EU 261 regulation on the airlines. However, it does have the authority to notify the concerned airline that compensation should be paid to you, in case it believes that you have a valid claim. Keep in mind that the airline is not obligated to follow the CAA’s recommendation.
The CAA has admitted that it receives a number of claims, so you should not expect the process to get any faster when approaching the CAA with your issue.
If you are unhappy with the progress of your claims with the CAA or the airline and their response, it would be wise to drag the airline to Small Claims Court. You can represent yourself in such a court. It is advisable that you get at least some idea about the legal processes before filing your claim in a court. It should be kept in mind that this option may cost you considerable amount of money as specialist law firms are employed by airlines to fight their case.
It is among your best options. Passengers who have employed solicitors have won a number of cases where compensation was previously denied to them. The advantage of using professionals is that a lot of work is done by them on your behalf. Solicitors know the process inside out. You just have to inform them about the delay along with some other details and your solicitor will let you know whether you have a valid claim or not. In case you are eligible to get compensation, your solicitor will try his/her best to recover your dues.