This summer has seen travelers left stranded at airports all over the world due to flight disruptions. In a survey commissioned by AirHelp, 75 percent of U.S. travelers confirmed that they feel uninformed by airlines about their rights. Reinforcing its efforts to help air passengers, AirHelp has launched "Passenger Rights Awareness Month," lasting throughout August. Through this initiative, AirHelp is creating a platform for travelers to connect with experts and consumer advocates to give travelers' further insights into their rights.
For one, AirHelp is opening up its social media channels to travelers and passenger rights advocates from all corners of the world to spread their knowledge and experiences to empower travelers globally to exercise their rights. Travelers will have the opportunity to connect with these experts to learn what steps to take when their travel plans go wrong.
Every year, almost 13 million passengers leave over $6 billion in the hands of the airlines globally, AirHelp reports. In the U.S., less than 25 percent of travelers who were on a disrupted flight actually filed a claim.
"It is crystal clear that air passengers still feel powerless against airlines and many miss out on the compensation they're owed by not filing a claim," said Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp, in a written release.
He adds, "With the launch of 'Passenger Rights Awareness Month,' we hope to push the envelope further in our efforts to inform travelers all over the world about their rights. There is great value in the E.U. law EC 261 protecting travelers' rights. In the U.S., from January through June 2018, 415,800 passengers are owed $292 million in compensation from the airlines, which is nearly 60 percent more than the same period in 2017."
Flight Disruptions: These Are the Passengers' Rights
For delayed or canceled flights, and in instances of denied boarding, passengers may be entitled to financial compensation of up to $700 per person in certain circumstances. The conditions for this stipulate that the departure airport must be within the E.U., or the airline carrier must be based in the EU and landing in the EU. What's more, the reason for the flight delay must be caused by the airline. Compensation may be claimed within three years of the disrupted flight.
Situations deemed as "extraordinary circumstances," such as storms or medical emergencies, exempt the operating airline from the obligation to compensate passengers. In other words, "extraordinary circumstances" do not qualify for flight compensation.
In early 2018, AirHelp launched tool to help travelers sift through eligible flights. The app concentrates specifically on flights that are eligible for compensation and, with permission, the tool can check up to three years prior by simply connecting a traveler's inbox to AirHelp.com. With AirHelp's app, affected passengers can also check flight eligibility while at the airport. The app will analyze if a flight problem qualifies for compensation and will then register a claim within a few seconds. The AirHelp app is free and is available at both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Unless otherwise stated, all data is provided by SurveyMonkey; 2,062 respondents participated in this survey, which took place in February 2018. The results are representative of air travelers (ages 18 and older) in the United States.