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No win, no fee: your free ticket to flight delay compensation

No win, no fee: your free ticket to flight delay compensation

What does no win, no fee mean and why is it important for flight delay compensation?

When there’s a flight delay, many passengers assume they’ll just get the compensation they’re legally owed. But there’s actually some legal grey areas that can make it challenging to know when an airline passenger can claim compensation.

Airlines have a tendency to use these grey areas to their advantage and claim that delays and cancellations were outside of their control, when in reality they were at fault and owe their passengers compensation.

That means that when you make a claim, you might not win it – especially if you’re trying to make the claim without legal assistance. Below, we’ll walk you through why it can be tough to win flight delay compensation claims, what the laws are, and what no win, no fee means for your claim.

Why it can be tough to win flight delay compensation claims

First of all, airlines will often fight to avoid compensating passengers for flight delays.

Most laws relating to flight delay compensation (EU Regulation 261/2004, Regulation UK-261, Canadian Regulation on Air Passenger Rights, and others) around the world are based on an international treaty known as The Montreal Convention. It states that when flights are delayed, the airline is liable unless the delay was out of their control – meaning the airline did everything they reasonably could to prevent the delay.

Legal grey areas for flight delay compensation

Whether or not a delay was in the airline’s control is often the point of contention between airlines and passengers. Here are a few examples of some legal grey areas that arise from this:

    Weather: Airlines aren’t at fault for delays due to weather, but weather is also a convenient rationale for other types of delays that are the airline’s fault. For this reason, there’s growing pressure in Canada to implement laws which would require airlines to prove weather-related safety concerns before they deny passengers’ compensation claims.

    Staffing: Airlines are responsible for ensuring that they have enough staff to cover flights. That means that staff calling in sick (even when it’s the pilot) won’t exempt them from having to pay out compensation to passengers. However, staff strikes are a grey area –under Canadian law, they’re outside of the airline’s responsibility, while under EU law, staff strikes don’t make airlines exempt.

    Airport issues: Delays caused by the airport itself and air traffic control aren’t the responsibility of the airline. However, only a small percentage of delays are caused by air traffic control in comparison to the percentage of delays that are the airline’s responsibility.

    Technical issues: Issues caused by routine aircraft maintenance are the airline’s responsibility. They must make sure they have enough time to maintain their aircraft and prepare for inclement weather (including having enough de-icing fluid). However, manufacturing defects that cause delays aren’t the airline’s fault.

When passenger claims go to court, it’s usually because of legal grey areas like these. Often, airlines will claim the delay or cancellation was out of their control, when in reality they’re liable for compensating passengers.

Examples of airline court cases

A Canadian study found that almost half of flight delays were the airline’s fault, yet many of those delays went uncompensated. Here are a few examples from court where passengers fought back and won:

In late 2022, a passenger who booked a ticket from the EU tried to get compensation from American Airlines for the second leg of a journey within the US. American Airlines argued that because the flight was in the US, they weren’t liable for compensation under EU law – but an EU court ruled that because the passenger had purchased all their flights under the same ticket, they were entitled to compensation.

In early 2023, Flair airlines lost a court case in Canada after claiming weather was the cause of a delay which was in fact due to flight crew rest requirements. The passenger won the case because they had kept emails from the airline stating the delay was due to crew rest requirements – so Flair wasn’t able to win the case by claiming something else in court.

In the middle of 2023, a couple won a claim against Air Canada when they missed a connecting flight due to a delay of more than two hours. Air Canada tried to claim that the issue was with air traffic control, but the court found that Air Canada did not have sufficient evidence for this.

However, semantics aren’t the only thing keeping people from making claims for delayed flights. Another major reason is the sheer time it would take to make a claim on their own.

Bureaucracy at major airlines

Airlines have a ton of their own legal and operational issues to contend with – which gets passed on to customers in the form of hold times that can be two hours or more.

And customer service agents won’t be experts in air transportation law, so they may accidentally give you the wrong information or think that the airline can’t help you. Many people trying to pursue compensation give up due to the sheer time it would take.

When you have a claim with an airline, they’re legally required to respond within 30 days, but many people don’t know this – and then the airline is off the hook. So what are your rights around the world, and how can you claim them?

Flight delay compensation laws and no win, no fee: a brief overview

While many countries have laws based on the Montreal Convention, the details vary from country to country. Here are a few examples of how some of the laws compare:

Flight delay compensation around the world

European Union: In the EU, passengers can receive compensation for airline delays of over 3 hours or flight cancellations. Compensation is determined by the distance of the flight, and passengers can receive up to €600 per flight. Passengers also have up to five years to submit their claim. (i.e. 2 years in Italy, 3 years in Germany, 5 years in Spain.)

United Kingdom: UK law is very similar to EU law since it was created after Brexit to continue protection for UK passengers. The main difference is that claim amounts are in UK currency; passengers can file claims of up to £520 for flight delays. The time limit in the UK is 6 years.

Canada: Under Canadian law, flight delay compensation is proportional to the length of the delay, not the distance of the flight – so large airlines can owe up to $1,000 for a delay of 9 hours or more. There are also smaller compensation fees for smaller airlines, and additional compensation for passengers denied boarding due to overbooking. Passengers have one year to submit their claim under Canadian law.

US: The US has signed the Montreal Convention, but as of yet doesn’t have any national laws in place to compensate passengers for most delays. In mid-2023, the Biden administration proposed similar laws as other countries, but the laws are facing pushback from major airlines. However, it does have laws in place for overbooking that compensate passengers up to $1,550 for replacement flights more than 2 hours late.

Brazil: Brazilian law entitles passengers of up to $1,800 for flight delays and includes a clause for “moral damage” in which passengers can claim more if they felt they were treated unfairly by the airline. Like the EU, Brazil allows passengers up to two years to submit their claim for international flights, and five years for domestic flights.

In some cases, passengers are covered under two different sets of laws. For example, Canadian law covers all international flights to or from Canada, while EU covers international flights from the EU. So in the case of a flight from an EU airport to a Canadian one, the passenger can choose which country to file their claim with.

In many countries, the airline is also responsible for providing food, hotel stays, travel, and other expenses for delays of two hours or more.

While the EU laws have been around for a long time, Canadian and Brazilian laws are much newer – from 2019 and 2016 respectively,

What no win no fee service means for flight delay compensation

Click2Refund offers no win no fee service, which means that you’ll only pay us a fee if we win your claim. Our fee is 28% of your claim, so what you pay is proportional to what you are able to claim from the airline. A no win no fee service can:

    Mitigate risk, since you won’t pay anything if we don’t win your claim. That means you can relax and enjoy the rest of your trip without having to worry about additional expenses on top of what travel is already costing.

    Make your claim more likely to succeed, since you’ll have help from a team of legal experts that specialize in air travel compensation. We can help you identify when you’re legally entitled to compensation and how much you’re entitled to.

    Reduce the stress of claims, as you won’t have to worry about the details of how to get compensated. We will contact the airline on your behalf, and our team of legal experts can even take your claim to court if you have a case.

Only 1.5% of passengers get the compensation they’re legally entitled to, simply because they don’t know their rights. Understanding your rights is the first step to making a claim, but there are a few other important things you should know.

What to do if you have a claim against an airline

As soon as you think you may have a claim, check with Click2Refund. It only takes a few minutes to enter details in our Flight Delay Compensation Calculator to see how much you’re entitled to for flight delays and cancellations, missed connections, and overbooking.

After that, start collecting evidence that may help you prove your claim. Boarding passes, booking reference numbers, and communication from the airline are all important details that can help you.

You should also save receipts for any extra expenses you incur due to a flight delay or lost baggage. For example, if a flight delay has you stranded for two hours or more in the airport and you buy a meal for yourself, save the receipt! You may be able to get reimbursement for it later if the airline hasn’t offered you food.

How legal experts can help you make the most of your claim

Flight compensation is still a hot-button issue in many countries as airlines contend with new passengers’ rights. The EU law has slowly set a new standard which is putting pressure on airlines to uphold the promise they make to passengers when they sell tickets.

For example, many airlines overbook flights because it’s more profitable for them. Usually, not every passenger will show up for their flight, so overbooking helps ensure the flights are full.

But when everyone shows up to a flight that’s overbooked, some passengers will be denied boarding. The airline legally has to see if anyone will volunteer to give up their flight – but if no one does, they may have to start finding new flights for people.

If that happens to you, you may be entitled to compensation even if the airline finds you a new flight. In some countries, that compensation is also above and beyond any delays caused by overbooking.

If your flight is delayed due to overbooking, then you’d still be entitled to meals, refreshments, and even a hotel stay if necessary along with compensation for your delay and the overbooking. All of this is in addition to the new ticket the airline offers you.

Without legal help, many passengers might not understand they’re entitled to any compensation at all, especially since it’s such a common occurrence. And many US citizens travelling outside of the US may not realize the different types of compensation they’re entitled to above and beyond compensation for the overbooking itself.

How Click2Refund can help

Click2Refund offers no win, no fee legal service for flight delay compensation from any country. Our team of legal experts can offer guidance and speak to the airline on your behalf to make your claim complete, timely and hassle-free.

If your flight is delayed, cancelled, overbooked, or you’ve missed a connection, don’t hesitate to check with Click2Refund today. You might be entitled to more than you think!

Written by: Click2Refund