How Much Compensation Can You Get?

A frequent topic on talk boards is how much compensation is a passenger entitled to when a flight is delayed or canceled. Startup AirHelp might be able to help you. They created a free app to help you get through the maze of receiving the compensation you are entitled to.

AirHelp states that only 0.1 percent of passengers receive the compensation they are entitled to. That number seems extremely small but they do not explain in the article how AirHelp arrived at that figure. To their credit, AirHelp wrote a blog comparing compensation between the US and EU. While overall it is pretty good, they are a little misleading when it comes to US involuntary bumps. As I wrote some time ago, it is very rare for passengers to be involuntarily denied boarding. Much more common is the situation where an overbooked flight asks for volunteers.

Except for the rare involuntary denial, compensation in the US varies depending on many factors. One thing the app does not consider is airline status. There is more than ample anecdotal evidence that airlines give far better compensation to elites, with more benefits including overnight accommodations if necessary in many situations.

If this app is free, how does AirHelp make any money? Ah, the small catch. If they can help you recover any compensation, they take 25% for doing all the work. Frankly you can do it yourself but if you want some help and wouldn’t receive anything without them, you are certainly better off with their assistance. They say the average claim takes 6-8 weeks.

So far, AirHelp has figured out how to work directly with your Gmail account if you have your flight information there. That’s a great start but they need to expand this to more platforms, especially TripIt. Perhaps that is in the works for the future. On the other hand, the app is in need of an update. According to the Apple store, it is optimized for iPhone 5. Hopefully it won’t be long before they update this for iPhone 6 and the latest iOS 8 update.

They actually have a competitor app out there called refund.me. However, this app is for EU flights only and also lags in updating and optimizing for the current products and operating system.

For sure, there are limitations with the AirHelp app. If your flight is to/from the EU, it might be able to target your compensation. If your flight is domestic US, they can’t help at all unless you are involuntarily denied boarding. Bottom line, check it out if you are flying into/out of EU and your flight is delayed/canceled.

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