Traveling can burn a major hole in your pocket. Between the cost of airfare, overnight hotels, food, and souvenirs, it’s almost a miracle if you don’t come back with an empty bank account. But if you get lucky, a routine inconvenience could translate into extra cash—which could seriously cushion those expenses. (And that isn’t the only way you can make money on vacation.)
Passengers whose flights are canceled, overbooked, or severely delayed could be eligible for compensation from the airline. But only two percent of almost nine million passengers entitled to refunds actually claim them, according to AirHelp, a flight delay compensation company.
“Many passengers are unaware of their rights ahead of their journey,” Paloma Salmeron Planells, a representative from AirHelp, told Express. “This causes them to not submit a claim, which could be worth up to £520, or keep hold of receipts so that they can claim further expenses back.”
Want to cash in? Here’s what you need to do. Before your flight, read the terms and conditions of your booking to know what you can claim if something goes wrong. You can also use the AirHelp website to double check your eligibility for compensation.
It’s also essential to hold on to your boarding pass; if you end up making a claim, you will need to know your six-digit booking reference number. (Another reason to pay more attention to your boarding pass: These four letters will guarantee you a longer wait at airport security.) And make sure to ask the desk for specifics about the delay or cancellation.
“The more specific the reason [for a delay], the better,” Planells said. “If they say that it’s due to ‘operational circumstances’ or ‘flight safety shortcomings,’ ask them for more detail. This information is important down the line if you decide to file a claim.”
Bottom line: Hold tight to that boarding pass. Trust us, your bank account will thank you. But before you even step foot in an airport, you’ll want to stop making these mistakes before your next flight.