Have you ever ever wondered how hard it is to get an airline to do what they legally should do? I mean, in the USA airlines can say whatever they want to and blame the weather even when the weather is not really the issue. And even when an airline is at fault they, by law, don’t have to do much at all anyway and there are few repercussions against them unless they leave you parked out on the tarmac for endless hours. Even in the latter case you will not see any compensation for this kind of issue since the government gets the money when they fine an airline.
But the EU261 rule is very different. The airlines fear this rule and rightfully so. They have rigorous steps to follow for almost any delay and, depending on how long the delay is, they may have to pay out rather sizable compensation. But they don’t like doing so. But there is help when you need it!
In my case, if you have not been following the blog for the past few years, it started almost two years ago. I was returning home from Sweden and my KLM City hopper jet had a broken cockpit window. I had lots of time to make my connection in Amsterdam but as my delay hit 3 hours I knew I was not going to make it. I was in KLM Euro Business class to Amsterdam then Delta One to the states and Delta domestic First Class the rest of the way. But it took a real fight, after the long delay, to even get KLM to put us back in the same level of service we had booked after their mechanical issue (gotta love Skyteam seamless service).
Anyway to make a long story short, when I got home, I reached out to Delta for EU261 compensation explaining what occurred. They said it was not their issue but a KLM issue even though I had purchased the ticket from Delta. They gave us each 20,000 SkyMiles and said reach out to KLM. So I did.
KLM said NO! They came up with all kinds of excuses like the fact that the first leg was “domestic” so no payment. Then they said it was not “really” a 3 hour plus delay (it was a 3 hour delayed departure and over 5 hour delay arrival – both matter). Bottom line they were not going to pay me anything (go pound sand all you want). So I reached out to readers – what I should do next?
73% of readers were clear that I should not let KLM get away with this injustice. So I reached out to AirHelp for assistance. Let me tell you these folks are just amazing. They are also patient as fighting an airline with an EU261 case can take a long time and YEARS as in my case.
The final resolution came just last month after much legal back and forth where KLM said no and AirHelp did not yield as they knew we would win. At long last at the end of August KLM yielded and proposed a settlement of 1200 EUR i.e. they at last gave in.
Was it worth it utilizing AirHelp to win my case? I sure think so as I did not have to fuss with the stress or the cost to fly over to Europe or fax over or whatever to win my case. Sure it did cost me 50% of the settlement, but under normal conditions the fee would have only been 25% (a much more reasonable fee for the effort). Plus, when it comes right down to it, if more are willing to fight like me it will hopefully motivate the airlines more to simply pay up when they know they are wrong and will lose in the end.
I urge you, if you have any questions at all as to if you are eligible to receive EU261 compensation, reach out to AirHelp and let them check for you. You may have more than just a few points or an airline “funny money” expiring voucher coming your way! – René