Believe It or Not, There are Upsides to Late-night Flight Delays
“Estimado 2 oras,” are not the words you’d want to see about your flight after arriving at the airport … even if you aren’t a native Spanish speaker. Nevertheless, a two-hour flight delay is what happened to Georgi Cole when he arrived at the Barcelona-El Prat Airport for a flight to Bulgaria in May 2016.
Neither Georgi nor the friend he was traveling with were warned of any changes to their flight itinerary by airline staff as they breezed through security without delay. Their breezy waltz through the airport came to a screeching halt, however, once they arrived at the gate. That’s when they first saw the monitors reading “estimado 2 oras,” or two-hour estimated flight delay.
Flight delay? Ask questions to determine why
“People started to get nervous, airport personnel did not come by to clarify, and people started calling the Sofia Airport contact number,” Georgi says of the Bulgarian-bound flight on Wizz Air. “Someone said the flight was delayed for two hours because something happened in Frankfurt,” but there was no clarification from the airline as to the real reason for the delay.
Overall, Wizz Air has a pretty high rating for on-time arrivals and departures, coming in at 7.8/10 in punctuality and an overall rank of no. 26 in the AirHelp Score. Wizz Air scores even higher (8.6/10) for claims responsiveness in the worldwide airline rankings, which is an excellent indicator for how quickly it addresses passenger complaints on delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights.
Wizz Air gets no high marks for Georgi’s flight delay. The plane meant to pick them up in Barcelona didn’t arrive until hours later — at 3:30 in the morning. By the time it was all said and done, Georgi and his fellow passengers didn’t make it to Sofia until after 6 a.m., a full five hours after the initial scheduled arrival time. Georgi was so exhausted by the time they touched down that he called out of work for the day in order to catch up on sleep.
If the airline’s fault, it could mean cash back
Unfortunately, Georgi’s story is common. Delays have become a large part of traveling, but in certain cases there’s money to be made for your troubles.
Unlike 99 percent of all fliers, Georgi was educated on his rights under the little-known law, EU legislation 261 (EC261), that states an airline must compensate passengers who were onboard any flight that is cancelled or delayed for more than three hours when arriving to or departing from an EU member state.
In fact, Georgi had previously attempted to file claims against airlines on his own. None of his attempts were successful, but these endeavors helped him to overcome any initial skepticism he may have had against AirHelp when he saw an advertisement pop up on his Facebook newsfeed. The ad detailed his rights under the law, and although there are many intricacies that come into play, the easiest and most simple way to know if a flight is worth anything is to see if it’s eligible.
Georgi took a leap of faith that paid off. His claim through AirHelp was accepted by Wizz Air and he was awarded with $300 in compensation for his troubles just a few weeks later. Now that’s worth a click on a Facebook ad.