There are two things you should know about me. The first is that I like to complain about poor service, and the second is that I’m a hoarder.
These character flaws have finally proved useful! Let me explain how you can claim hundreds or even thousands of Euros in compensation for delayed flights.
A couple of years ago, we took a holiday to Turkey flying with Thomas Cook. The flight out was delayed – normally I wouldn’t complain about a short delay; but this was 5 hours! Stuck in Gatwick Airport for 5 hours – urgh! Not the greatest start to our holiday.
I tried complaining to Thomas Cook, but they were having none of it. They said all we were due was a couple of Euros for food and water while we were stranded.
I wasn’t satisfied and fired off a complaint letter stating that under EC Regulation 261/2004 we were entitled to a lot more than that. Their reply – in February 2012 – was basically “sod off”.
The European Court of Justice had ruled in 2009 that airlines need to pay compensation for severely delayed flights. A consortium of airlines asked for a judicial review and stated they wouldn’t pay up until the ruling went through.
I recently found the old letter – hurrah for hoarding! – and decided to see if anything had happened in the last 2 years.
Well well well! In January 2013 the airlines lost! The statute of limitation in England and Wales is 6 years. So I rang Thomas Cook to enquire about my complaint.
While it would have been nice if the airline had actively contacted me, I can’t fault how quick and easy it was to make the claim over the phone.
I rang 0844 412 5954, went through the options and – after a short wait while they looked up my details – was told that we would be getting €400 each for the outbound leg of the delayed journey. At the current exchange rate – that’s about £345 per person! All paid via bank transfer.
At the most extreme example, a typical family of four delayed both ways on a transatlantic trip could be due €600 per person per leg. A total of €4,800. Roughly £4,000.
The ruling is very clear. If your flight was delayed, and you reached your destination 3 or more hours late – you are owed:
- €250 for a flight of less than 1500 km in distance.
- €400 for flight within the EU of greater than 1500 km in distance, or any other flight of greater than 1500 km but less than 3500 km in distance.
- €600 for a flight not within EU of greater than 3500 km in distance.
I strongly urge you – if you have had a flight delayed in the last 6 years and haven’t yet made a claim for compensation, do so now!
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