4 Ways Airlines Try to Avoid Paying Flight Compensation
There are a number of things that airlines say to avoid paying flight compensation to passengers inconvenienced by their company. In this article we’ll look at several real-world examples where Click2Refund has been awarded proper compensation for flight delays under European Union regulation 261/2004.
What is EU Regulation 261/2004?
Simply put, regulation 261/2004 protects and compensates travellers should their flight be delayed, cancelled, or they are denied boarding because their flight was overbooked.
This applies to flights that depart from a country of the European Union (EU), and all airlines registered within the EU. That includes layovers and connecting flights, too.
Click here to learn more about how much flight compensation you may be entitled to if your flight is:
Things Airlines Say
It’s surprising how few people are able to get proper flight delay or cancellation compensation when they are entitled to it.
Is it a failure of those trying to navigate flight compensation regulations --or is it all the things airlines say that make it so incredibly difficult?
Many passengers assume that if they’re reading legalese, it’s legal. Especially from a massive airline with a legal team and support staff.
But what if it’s all just a bunch of legalese hot air intended to stave off rightful claim payments?
1. “Extraordinary Circumstances”
Most businesses understand and manage any number of liabilities day in and day out. From server malfunctions and data breaches to cold fries they can’t sell. This kind of “burn” is common in all industries, airline industry included.
However, when called upon for refunds or compensation when a flight is delayed, cancelled, and/or a connecting flight is missed --airlines often cite “extraordinary circumstances” in what seem to be boilerplate ‘round one’ rebuttal form letters.
In precious few cases “extraordinary circumstances” may get the airline off the hook. And as interpretations of flight compensation regulations continue to be clarified by new rulings, cases where passengers lose their claim due to extraordinary circumstances are becoming fewer and further between.
Some example claims of extraordinary circumstances where the airline still paid compensation via Click2Refund include the following;
Technical problems that affect passengers are often issues that can lead to a successful flight delay claim, in spite of what airlines may tell passengers.
In this case, the Huzar V Jet2 case decided whether airlines must pay compensation for delays caused by technical problems.
Adverse Weather Conditions
Adverse weather conditions are often cited as a cause of flight delays and cancellations, whereby airlines often claim they do not have to pay compensation under EU regulations.
If it rains or snows, it does not necessarily mean conditions are inoperable for airlines. Weather isn’t meant to be a ‘catch-all’ for airlines to remove themselves from accountability to passengers.
In one case, British Airways appeared to skirt around their responsibility to claim that weather common at London Heathrow amounted to there being no guarantee any flight will depart --nor compensation provided in the event there are delays, or worse.
2. ‘Goodwill’ Gesture
It’s very common for airlines to offer a “goodwill gesture” after claiming, in essence, that you have no right to claim compensation in your case.
They may offer you less than you are entitled to, and they may try to give it to you as a voucher to keep your business in their brand ecosystem.
Customers who use their airline voucher likely wind up spending more money with the airline, and a large volume of vouchers are never redeemed. In these cases, the house wins.
Don’t Take the Voucher
Airlines may assume you don’t know your rights and accept a voucher if one is offered. However, a voucher isn’t cash, and airlines need your written permission to issue one as a substitute for what is rightly owed to you.
Article 7.3 of the EU Regulation 261/2004 clearly states that:
"The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services."
The option for cash is always on the table. If you’re offered an airline voucher, compare that to what your claim might be worth by filling out this survey to ensure you’re getting the optimal payout.
3. They Say Nothing at All
Like any sub-prime borrower, an airline may have just overlooked your flight compensation claim and proverbially ‘forgot’ to get back to you.
In many cases it is only the pressure to comply with regulations applied by a legal team like Click2Refund that will break the frigid silence a passenger may get from an airline. This presure is applied in the form of court procedures and enforcement of titles.
4. Wrong Point of Contact
Once a passenger has initiated an engagement with legal help to file their flight delay compensation claim, airlines may decide to open up communication with the passenger instead.
In these cases, the airline will employ the kind of tactics mentioned in each of the above points in an effort to lower the amount paid to the inconvenienced passenger(s).
If you choose to get help, make it clear to airlines that you’d prefer all communication regarding your claim to pass through your legal help.
There are plenty of other ways airlines manage flight delay claims that don’t seem like they’re in the best interests of the passenger, although these are probably the most common.
If you are unsure of your rights as an airline passenger, fill out this survey to see if you qualify for flight compensation.