It has been over a year (12/2018) since I got a horrible delay of over 9 hours on my flight from Gdansk (Poland) back to Oslo (Norway).
Short after the trip, I tried to contact Norwegian’s customer service department that handles such a claim. Unfortunately, the response I got was just BS! Long story short, I didn’t get anything!
That was like, wow! Actually, it blew my mind!
So, six months after the flight, in June 2019, I started to use AirHelp to claim my flight compensation, and just two months later (08/2019), I got my money!
And you know what’s cool about this?
You may be entitled to as much as €600/$700 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, cancelled or overbooked within the last three years.
So, here you are, my step-by-step guide (with screenshots) how to use AirHelp to claim your flight compensation!
How to use AirHelp to claim flight compensation – A step-by-step guide
First thing first. Please lemme tell you the whole nine yards what happened!
The flight was in the morning. I was at the boarding gate, ready to take it. I also saw people coming out from the plane parking just outside (as you can see, I even managed to take a photo of it). But then suddenly, the electrical board just said delay!
People thought it was just because of (somehow) bad weather. It snowed a little bit, but well, it was not the case.
After like 3+ hours, people started to lose their minds, especially families with small kids and senior travellers who got tired after all. They started to ask the poor staff at the gate for more information. He had no clue.
Since it had been more than 3 hours, we got food vouchers to use in the airport. I took mine, head to the nearest cafe, and tried to work a little bit, but still had to update myself about the flight status.
My laptop went out of battery after one hour or so, so I packed my stuff and went back to the gate, hoping to have some news. Then I spotted the cabin crew sitting there and talking.
Gosh, I had to ask them what happened.
The stewardess explained that there was some technical problem with the wings when they landed, but unfortunately, they had no idea if the technical guys could make it today or not.
Nobody knew anything, and it was still snowing outside.
At that moment, I took it like some information without thinking too much about and went away for some window-shopping. I had no clue that it could be the key factor for me to win the claim.
After nine sweet hours, the staff (the man at the gate) announced that it was fixed, and we were ready to fly ASAP.
Thanks to all of this claiming thing, I’ve learned a lot about something called the EU legislation EC 261/2004 about air passenger rights and regulations.
According to AirHelp, 85% of air passengers do not know their rights. That’s a lot!
But anyway, the good news is, after reading this AirHelp step-by-step guide, you’ll surely know your rights as an air passenger!
What is EC 261?
(NB: All the information below is extracted from AirHelp’s official website and other related sources.)
EC 261/2004 is a regulation in EU law that favours the passenger.
It holds airlines financially accountable when air travel takes an unexpected turn, so long as the disruption was not caused by circumstances outside of the airline’s control.
In comparison to other laws on passenger rights, EC 261 is one of the most comprehensive.
This important piece of legislation plays a vital role in advocating for air travellers and passenger rights, and not only for European travellers. All passengers departing from a European airport are covered under EC 261. And in some circumstances, passengers flying into Europe from other worldwide destinations may be covered as well.
Depending on your flight, flight scenario, and ultimate destination, understanding passenger rights and filing for EU airline compensation can mean up to €600/$700 per person in reimbursements.
Here are the cases in which AirHelp can assist:
- Denied boarding
- Flight cancellation
- Long delay of flights (three or more hours)
When it comes to EU Airline Compensation, it’s beneficial to know which flights are covered by EC 261.
Most routes within Europe are covered. This includes not only EU airspace, but also Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the so-called “outermost regions” (French Guiana and Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe and La Réunion, Saint-Martin, Madeira and the Azores, and the Canary Islands).
Many international flights are covered as well.
If your flight departs from an airport in the EU, it’s covered. If your flight departs from elsewhere but your destination is in the EU, coverage depends on the airline – if it’s a European carrier, you’re covered.
In case you’re still confusing, please use this table to see if you can be covered by EC 261:
|Itinerary||EU air carrier||Non-EU air carrier|
|From inside the EU to inside the EU||✅ Covered||✅ Covered|
|From inside the EU to outside the EU||✅ Covered||✅ Covered|
|From outside the EU to inside the EU||✅ Covered||✅ Covered|
|From outside the EU to outside the EU||❌ Not covered||❌ Not covered|
When do you get compensation?
You are entitled to compensation in the following cases:
- Delays: Your flight must have arrived at its destination 3 or more than 3 hours late.
- Cancellations: If you have been informed of the cancellation less than 14 days before departure.
- Overbooking: The airline overbooked your flight and you will not find a seat onboard, which is equivalent to denied boarding.
- Missed connecting flight: If the final destination is reached 3 or more than 3 hours later due to a missed connecting flight This also applies if the connecting flight was operated by another airline as long as your ticket is valid for both legs of the flight.
When you CANNOT get any compensation?
Sometimes, under EU regulation, flight disruption does not qualify for compensation as the cause behind it was deemed to be an “extraordinary circumstance”.
This is when the disruption is out of the airline’s hands, and therefore not their responsibility. These circumstances include, among others:
- Unavoidable security risks
- Political instability
- Airport or airspace closure
- Adverse weather conditions
- Birds flying into the engine
- Strikes (from the airport’s staffs, not the air carrier’s staffs)
So, back to my story above. Do you remember I told you that a stewardess actually said it was a technical problem, meaning something happened to the wings when they landed?
Since it didn’t fall into this “extraordinary circumstance” list, it meant it was Norwegian’s fault and responsibility, since they could have prevented it, after all, right?
My pro tips: Next time you have your flight(s) delayed or cancelled, try to et as much information about the reason as you can. Who knows you’ll need it one day!
Okey! So that’s all the story and the practical information you need to know. Keep in mind that air carriers always have their own legal team who knows exactly how to turn your claim into something irrelevant and thus prevent them from paying you the compensation.
My AirHelp step-by-step guide
STEP 1: Enter AirHelp’s website, fill in your flight information, and click Check Compensation.
STEP 2: Confirm if it was a direct or connecting flight(s).
STEP 3: Fill in all the information as requested, including what happened to the flight (delayed, cancelled, denied boarding) and what was the total delay once you arrived at [your final destination].
Then it comes to an important question, “What did the airline say was the reason?”
In my case, I knew it was a technical problem. If you have no idea, choose No Reason or Don’t Remember.
STEP 4: Fill in your flight information, including airline, flight number, and departure date.
STEP 5 & 6: These two steps are about your email and name (as in passport). I didn’t take any screenshot here since it’s personal info anyway.
STEP 7: If you travel with someone else, this is the step to fill in extra information about your fellow passengers. Let’s say you’re entitled to compensation of €600, and since you travel with your friend, you two will get €1.200 (before fee).
You fellow passenger(s) will later receive a confirmation email. If you travel with kids, then there will be no confirmation needed.
STEP 8: Fill in your contact info, including address, phone number, etc.
STEP 9: Fill in Booking Reference, which can be found in your confirmation email (often in PDF format) or as shown below.
STEP 10: With all the input information you just entered, AirHelp will predict whether you may be eligible for the compensation or not.
Please keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have the compensation.
Don’t forget to sign, also.
STEP 11: Upload your supporting documents, including your passport/ID, power-of-attorney form, your tickets, and so on. They will tell you exactly what to upload.
Now, you can also see how much you’ll get if you win the case. For me, it was around €187. AirHelp will cut off 25% as their service fee.
However, the concept here is “no win, no fee”, meaning if you do not win, you don’t have to pay them anything.
And this is also the last step you have to do. AirHelp will take it from here and keep you updated (via email) about your claim status. You can also check it by logging in your account and go to claim detail.
In my very case, besides the standard fee of 25%, I had to pay 25% more for legal action. I walked off with €125 in my bank account.
However, I don’t think it’s the common case as my blogger friend (mentioned above) didn’t have to pay for that legal action fee. From that, I can say it may vary from case to case, but anyway, be prepared to pay up to 50% of what you can receive.
You will be asked to provide your ban account so that they can transfer to money (exchanged to your local currency) directly to you. For me, it was the Norwegian krone.