Flight cancelled or delayed? How to get compensation

I don’t like to talk about fried air and if I decide to write a post it’s because in one way or another I touched on the subject with my own hands. I had already addressed the issue of compensation in case of flight cancelled or delayed last year but since in recent months I found myself in a similar situation, I decided to resume it and enrich it with new experience.

If you too have found yourself in the unfortunate situation of seeing your trip ruined, in whole or in part, because of the cancellation or delay of the flight, know that compensation for damages is not an option but a right. And given that we often find ourselves investing several hundred euros in the purchase of a ticket, I think that a post on how to get compensation is welcome, or am I wrong?

Just a few details before you start so that you do not waste your time.

For you to be able to make a claim for compensation, there must be certain conditions, including:

  • It must be a flight departing from or transiting through a Community airport or an airport in another country to a Community airport (including Norway, Iceland or Switzerland);
  • You must be notified of the cancellation of your flight less than two weeks before departure;
  • The delay must be more than three hours.

Flight cancelled or delayed

Return from Lille: flight cancelled three hours before departure

Travelling to Mombasa: flight delayed by 24 hours

The Charter of Passenger Rights

Return from Lille: flight cancelled three hours before departure

Over the years, I have had problems with flights several times, but as an absolutely peaceful person, I never thought of fighting for compensation. Not that I haven’t tried. I have always claimed through the institutional channels of the airlines but faced with the negative answer I have never given a follow-up.

Then last year, on the second flight cancelled in a few months, I decided to tackle the situation head-on. With unorthodox methods, perhaps, but I got what was coming to me. Reimbursement of the ticket price of EURÂ 16, and EURÂ 250 in compensation for damages that are involved in the purchase of a flight to Sri Lanka. Wonderful trip, call me a fool…

That’s the story.

I find on Easyjet a round trip to Lille for less than 40 euros. My friend Bibine, with whom I shared a piece of road during my trip to Brazil, is now about to give birth so I take it without thinking twice. French Flanders is also a very pleasant place to visit.

In short, three hours before the return, with my moustache still dirty with Carbonnade Flamande, I receive an SMS from the company that tells me the cancellation of the flight. I hurry to the airport where I discover some interesting things.

The first available flight from Lille to Milan is scheduled in three days.

There are no flights available from Paris or Brussels – the nearest airports – for the next twenty-four hours. It’s 5 p.m. on a Sunday, do vobis…

Lying passengers must pay the cost of transport to Paris or Brussels in advance and then, with the receipts, proceed to reimbursement.

There is a great deal of excitement around me, but nobody beats their feet as they should be. I am furious this time. Not that I regret the idea of stopping in Lille a little more but I absolutely have to get back to the base because in three days I’ll have the Salento with a tour of the Negramaro that I don’t want to miss.

I’m approaching two guys like me who have to reach Milan as soon as possible and they are thinking of taking a trip by car. Two French-Algerians who live in Lille but trade with Italy and offer me a ride. The first thing I ask him is “Don’t you two carry drugs?”. One of them, the tallest one, inhales himself and replies “Why don’t you ask me if we’re carrying bombs instead? We’re Arabs, not Colombians!”Touché! Some of you may think I’m crazy to tie up but in his eyes I perceive a noble soul and in no time at all I find myself on board their car bound for Milan.

A wonderful journey, even if a bit heavy, that makes me understand how easy it is to be conditioned by prejudices. We talk, talk and talk as if we had known each other forever. They don’t even ask me to share in the travel expenses – we would go without you anyway, they tell me! – and they even invite me to lunch. As they say, two gentlemen…

Returning to us, the first thing I do, once home, is to ask for a refund of the ticket following the usual official way through the website. Then, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I decide not to wait for the usual denial and to go on the attack. I contact Easyjet on facebook and write a nice message explaining in detail the situation. Tone polite and kind but of what he knows about his own. I tell him in no uncertain terms to know my rights as a traveler and not to force me to make him war. I add, bluffing, that I have the media and legal tools to show him the green mice. Obviously I remain on the generic side, the right mix between said and unsaid.

Well, less than two hours later something is already moving.

We have checked the situation and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Your ticket money will be credited directly to your credit card in the next 48 hours. Please provide us with IBAN and SWITCH to proceed with the refund and compensation of 250 euros. We remain at your disposal.

I almost don’t believe it! Five days later I find the money credited to my account!

Maybe I started off on the wrong foot, once again victim of prejudice … but if the big companies have always answered me spades, what could I ever expect from a low cost? Maybe I would have gotten it anyway without the whole show, who knows? Of course, the Franco-Algerian friends who followed the conventional path… received the money after months of waiting!

It is absurd that in order to assert our rights we must poison our liver but often it is so! It’s an effective way of making us give up and let go, as I’ve always done so far.

In practice, in the case of a flight cancelled or delayed, especially if you move without the help of an agency, it is better to get a certificate indicating the cause of the discomfort. The first thing they told me about when they arrived at the airport was that the flight did not depart because of a breakdown in the aircraft. Then, when I started to raise my voice by making others do the same, they justified the missed boarding with a strike of the air traffic controllers! Yeah, because we’re all dumb! An air traffic controller strike involving only the staff on duty on Easyjet’s flight between Lille and Milan!

Of course, they try and often it’s good for them because they don’t want to bang, but since we’re not talking about peanuts but about a compensation that can reach 600 euros at best, I would say that a little bit of banging can fit! I don’t know about you but I don’t have the euro tree on my balcony…

Travelling to Mombasa: flight delayed by 24 hours

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, also this year I found myself facing an airline for a flight that landed twenty-four hours late. At this turn I went even better because the dirty work I did to others and I pocketed 500 euros that once again flowed into a plane ticket to Lebanon with attached and connected. Of course, I understand that for those who have only one week of travel, but also two, twenty-four hours thrown away are a nice break of boxes but in my case, which I have time, were a godsend.

And that’s how it went.

The flight to Mombasa with a stopover in Addis Ababa scheduled for 23.00 departs at 06.00 the next morning. Seven hours thrown in the airport with the flight attendants who try to keep us good by trimming us one baggianata after the other.

There are those who claim a bed, those who sleep thrown to the ground, those who smoke dozens of cigarettes, those who barge. I am quite quiet. I know my rights and it is my duty to inform the other passengers on the way to get compensation in case of cancelled or delayed flights.

As per the script, in Addis Ababa we miss the connection and are scattered in the various hotels of the city. One of my fellow misfortunes decides to go for a walk and is robbed! These things happen, for God’s sake, but an entire night standing is certainly not the best for the reflections of a human being.

Anyway, all’s well that ends well and after a good night’s sleep we are again at the airport ready to embark, some for Mombasa and some for Nairobi. I recommend once again with everyone to take action against Ethiopian Airlines to obtain compensation.

My journey begins and I have immediately understood the situation. The internet connection leaves the time it finds and something tells me that turning directly to the company I will not get a spider out of the hole.

So I decide to follow another path and I rely on one of those agencies that sometimes parade in front of me on facebook. There are several of them and they all operate more or less in the same way, although, of course, I can only guarantee the efficiency and professionalism of Flight Compensation Italy that followed my practice. I underline it because last year a friend had contacted two other friends but has not received an answer from anyone.

The procedure is as follows.

Contact the agency – I did it through messenger – and explain the situation by indicating the incriminated operatives. A quick analysis is made immediately and if your case falls within the case provided for compensation in case of flight cancelled or delayed, you will be asked for an email address to send the mandate of the lawyer who will be signed and returned. Then you forget everything! They told me immediately that generally this type of dispute is resolved within four months and four months later they asked me for the IBAN to credit the money.

But do these agencies work for free? – you’ll wonder. Nobody works for free. If the lawsuit is successful, and only in this case, the agency will retain a percentage. I would have been entitled to 600 euros in compensation and 500 euros went into my pocket. Considering that nobody likes to work for free, the agencies accept the assignment if there are the extremes to win the lawsuit that, once in their hands, in 99% of cases you can rest assured that you will get compensation. That sounds like a good compromise to me! It seems absurd given that it is a sacrosanct right of the passenger but it is not so obvious that everything runs smoothly as the oil and anyway would involve a waste of time and considerable energy. The choice is absolutely subjective!

Passenger rights charter

For the sake of completeness, I would also like to point out the possibility of taking action against the airline to obtain compensation through the ENAC (Ente Nazionale dell’Aviazione Celeste) website. The only thing is that it is possible to contact ENAC only if the refund request previously sent to the company has not been answered.

The ENAC website, which clearly indicates the passenger’s rights, also identifies exceptional circumstances in which compensation is not due, such as adverse weather conditions, to name but a few.

The time required to claim compensation in the event of a flight being cancelled or delayed is not even so short: two years from the date of occurrence of the event. Call me stupid but I would sign up for at least one compensation per year…

Have you ever been in a situation like this before? Do you have any other suggestions for compensation or the name of any serious and reliable agency to suggest to the community of travelers? If so, I’ll be waiting for you in the comments.

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