Traveling by airplane is stressful enough: There is getting to the airport on time, getting through security when you can’t remember if you took all of your liquids out of your carry on, and then rounding up your family to make sure they all end up at the right gate (cue music from the Home Alone airport scene). However, did you know that you may actually be entitled to some extra cash from airlines for a number of reasons? It’s true, reports Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp, a website that helps passengers understand their rights and get the compensation they are owed.
“We recently found that more than 90 percent of U.S. travelers aren’t aware of their rights, even though many are eligible to file claims from airlines for inconveniences they experience,” he explains. Here are the instances when an airline may owe you money:
1. You need to spend extra money at the airport due to a delay. “Besides owing you cash for flight disruptions, the airline at fault is also obligated to provide you with refreshments, transportation to your hotel or accommodations, hotel stays for non-local travelers, and a booking on the next available flight to your destination,” he says. Find out the airport with the most weather delays in the United States.
2. Your flight has been oversold and you’ve been bumped. However, how much you can get depends on the timing of the delay and whether you are traveling domestically or abroad. For example: A domestic flight that gets you in two hours later than your original flight can garner you about 200 percent of your ticket, but more than four hours delayed can get you 400 percent the value of your ticket up to $675. When you’re traveling abroad, you’re eligible for even more.
3. Damaged, delayed or lost luggage is not just an inconvenience, it could also net you some extra money, usually between $1,525 and $3,500, noted Zillmer. “If your luggage is damaged, make sure to file a report within seven days, while complaints about delayed luggage should be filed within 21 days. Luggage that doesn’t arrive within 21 days is considered lost, and after this period there is no time limit for complaints. Make sure to always hold onto your receipts, because you can be reimbursed for anything that was lost or damaged that you needed for your trip,” said Zillmer. Brush up on the seven things to do after the airline loses your luggage.
4. Airlines may owe you money if your European flight is delayed, and not because of weather or other extraordinary circumstances. If your European flight is canceled with less than a two-week warning or if you miss your connecting flight to or from Europe because of delays on your first flight, you could receive up to $700 and, in some cases, can cash in on the $700 plus the cost of the original ticket.
If you find it challenging to deal with the airlines when it comes to filing claims that may put some extra cash back in your pocket, AirHelp can do the work for you. It investigates your claim and deals with the airlines directly in order to get compensation.
However, at the end of the day, be nice to the airline personnel who are servicing you. They may be more apt to help you out if you put your frustrations aside and work with them to make arrangements for compensation, re-booking, or other accommodations. Read on for the 13 things airline personnel won’t tell you, but every traveler should know.