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Air Berlin Insolvency: What Does This Mean for Your Claim?

AuthorPaul French

UPDATE: 21st August 2017

It is our latest understanding that any compensation claims filed with Air Berlin before 15th August 2017 will not be paid, while any claims filed after 15th August 2017 will now enter into a new procedure, the outcome of which is yet to be determined.

ORIGINAL STORY: August 15, 2017

Germany’s second largest carrier Air Berlin has filed for insolvency after its main shareholder, Etihad Airways, announced it would not be providing any further support. Fellow German airline Lufthansa is now in talks to buy up parts of the company.

Frustrated air passengers have borne the brunt of the the budget airline’s woes, with delays, cancellations and resulting missed connections commonplace in recent months. Having reported losses almost continuously since 2008, Air Berlin insisted as recently as June that bankruptcy was not a threat, but this statement was based on the continuing support of Etihad.

Air Berlin has announced that its flights will continue for the time being, with the German government making a short-term loan of 150 million euros ($176 million).

AirHelp is the top flight disruption claims service in the world. We’ve helped over three million passengers navigate the legal process of claiming compensation for delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights.

Marius Fermi, one of our experts on air passenger rights, explains what passengers who have flown – or want to fly – with the airline need to know:

“Air Berlin has confirmed that the flight operations will initially be maintained, which means that passengers with disrupted flights will still be able to claim for up to €600 Euros in compensation according to EU law EC 261. The entitlement and amount of the compensation depends on the length of the delay at the destination, the flight distance and the reason for the delay or cancellation. Affected passengers can claim their compensation up to five years after their flight date. From AirHelp, we will continue to support passengers in claiming the compensation that is rightfully theirs – going to court if necessary.

flight delay compensation

“If further down the line, Air Berlin’s flight operations were terminated, tickets purchased would no longer be valid. Whether a compensation is paid in this case depends on the type of booking:

  • If you booked your flight directly via Air Berlin, passengers will not be able to get a compensation because of the insolvency
  • However, it looks different when booked via a travel agency or a partner airline. Travel agencies or partner airlines may be responsible depending on whether flights are covered by travel insurance schemes, whereas, in case of package holidays, the coverage should be guaranteed
  • Another option for compensation is for passengers who have booked directly with Air Berlin, but have used the credit card as a means of payment. The payment may be contradicted before it is credited to the airline. In addition, there is the possibility of repaying debited amounts in the event of bankruptcy. For this purpose, a document must be sent to the respective credit card company which certifies the unsuccessful claim of the airline.”

Air Berlin ranked 42nd in the 2017 AirHelp Score airline rankings, while Etihad was voted one of the top three airlines in the world.

A passenger survey conducted last year by the International Air Transport Association found that ticket price was the top factor determining airline loyalty.

Flight delays happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You may be entitled to as much as €600 in compensation if your flight was delayed, cancelled or overbooked within the last five years.

Image: Pascal Volk

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