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What:New survey results from flight compensation company AirHelp found that 92 percent of U.S. citizens do not know their air passenger rights, and globally, air travelers are missing out on $6 billion a year in compensation. The survey also revealed that even though one in four U.S. air passengers thought they were eligible to receive up to $700 in compensation, fewer than 25 percent of those who were on a disrupted flight actually filed a claim.
Why It Matters:Air passenger rights regulation EC 261 is a 14-year-old law that covers U.S. citizens traveling to and from Europe. Unfortunately, it seems few people know about the law or take advantage of its protections. The top three reasons passengers did not file for compensation were: they weren’t aware of their rights (63%), they didn’t think they were eligible (47%) and they didn’t know how to file a claim (42%). Agents assisting clients with claims can take customer service to a new level while winning consumer loyalty.
Fast Facts:- AirHelp conducted the survey in March with over 2,000 respondents across the United States.
- 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 EU, or the airline carrier must be landing in the EU and headquartered in the EU. Compensation may be claimed within three years of the disrupted flight. The reason for the disruption must be caused by the airline.
- Situations deemed as ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as unannounced strikes, storms, or medical emergencies mean that the operating airline is exempt from the obligation to compensate passengers. In other words, ‘extraordinary circumstances’ do not qualify for flight compensation.
- The survey also showed that 75 percent of U.S. air travelers feel they were not adequately informed of their rights by the airlines.
What They Are Saying:“There is great value in the EU law EC 261 protecting travelers’ rights for both European and U.S. travelers, and we are hopeful that the U.S. will follow suit in the near future to pass similar consumer protection regulations,” said Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp. “However, despite the protection that EC 261 provides for air travelers, it is clear that air passengers still feel powerless against airlines and many miss out on the compensation they’re owed by not filing a claim. Every year, almost 13 million passengers leave over $6 billion in the hands of the airlines that owe them compensation following unpleasant flight disruptions. We are very excited to share the results of this study with passengers, policy makers and airlines, which for the first time, shows incontestable proof of the real need to increase awareness and understanding of air passenger rights. This is why we created AirHelp five years ago, and we will continue to work tirelessly to help travelers get the compensation that is rightfully theirs and support them throughout their flight disruptions.”