Know your Airline Compensation Rights & Restrictions

Know your Airline Compensation Rights & Restrictions

  • Posted: Oct 16, 2018


There’s nothing worse than having a flight disrupted.  Annoying security lines, limited leg room, and bad food are a given, but we all expect to get what we paid for - getting to our destination on time.  So what happens when that doesn’t happen? In most cases, you’ll have to deal directly with the airline; a frustrating process. What a hassle!

There’s good news if you’re flying international on a European airline.  The EU law 261 entitles customers to regulated compensation that are much more generous than American laws.  There’s also AirHelp, one of the leading companies who get your compensation for delayed or cancelled flights for you.  I had a flight from New York to Paris that was cancelled, and AirHelp got me $1,300! And it only took about fifteen minutes of my time to file with them.  

Unfortunately, Americans do not have access to such services when dealing with American airlines because US laws do not allow it.  But still, it is important to know your customer rights to avoid getting swindled out of compensation. So what are they?

Often airlines will sell more tickets than they have seats to make sure they’re flights are full.  But when passengers don’t cancel and the flight is overbooked, they will begin asking, and then deciding which passengers will surrender their seat.  However, only involuntary boarding denials are covered. If you voluntarily surrender your seat in exchange for their offer, you also surrender your right to compensation!  Compensation only entitles you to 400% of the one-way fare price, and not to exceed $1,350. Most importantly, you are entitled to cash, so never feel limited to accept vouchers.  You can also request payment directly at the airport.

Overall, airline compensation rights are hidden in fine print, but knowing them can end up saving you a lot of money.  


Author: Willow Groskreutz

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