Delayed/cancelled flights: How and when should can get compensation

It is becoming a norm for airlines  to cancel flights and delay in takeoffs are becoming commonplace with airlines giving diverse  reasons; acceptable and absurd, for  rescheduled or delayed flights.

And for international flights, it is indeed a frustrating experience, especially if it is a connecting flight where just few minutes of delay can destroy a lot of things.

This situation is the nightmare of every traveller, especially when there’s something time-bound in the country to be visited.

However, few people know that they are entitled to compensation for delayed international flights or how to go about it. Indeed, for delayed flights, every traveller has a right to €600 compensation and it differs from country to country.

For the most comprehensive airline passenger compensation scheme, always fly either through one of the European countries even when your final destination is somewhere else. The EU compensation scheme called EC regulation 261/2004 is one of the best.

Also in the UK, there is legislation but to qualify for compensation,  – the delayed flight must be a European Union (EU)-regulated flight; one that departed from an EU airport, regardless of the airline or landed at an EU airport. This covers  all flights from Nigeria to the UK, France and Germany among others.

There are however rules and you must be conscious of these rules and regulations; you can only claim for compensation for flights over the last six years and you are only entitled to the compensation if the delay was something within the airline’s control.

But if it’s beyond the control of the airline; caused by terrorist activity, bad weather, industrial strike and some other exceptions or uncontrollable natural disasters,  you can’t claim compensation.

It is only accepted as delay when the flight gets to destination over three hours after it is billed to arrive and amount of compensation is dependent on  flight delay and distance. For a flight from and to Nigeria, compensation is  between €400 – €600

It should be noted that there are different claims procedure for individual airlines; you can complain to some via email but there must be a written claims letter to others. You must first find out what method your airline accepts.

Your claim must include what went wrong and what you want in terms of compensation in simple terms and always include that  you want compensation under EC regulation 261/2004

If the claim for compensation is rejected by the airline, you may  choose to let it go or make a further complaint to a regulator in the arrival EU country, or the European Consumer Centre (ECC). This must include details of your initial complaint letter, the rejection letter received from the airline and a cover letter asking them to review the rejection by the airline.

However,  regulators or the ECC do not have the powers to force airlines to pay compensation. So even if they agree that you should get compensation, the airline might refuse to accept liability. If this happens, then you will have no other option tgan the court of competent jurisdiction.

It should also be noted that it is not only through EU countries that one can get compensation. In some circumstances, you can get compensation based on other country’s laws or through the Montreal Convention which is the international law that sets rules of compensation for travel disruptions, whether they are flight delays, flight cancellations or boarding denials.




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