There’s nothing like ending a nice family holiday with a flight cancellation and a late return to work…
Okay, not so much.
But that is what happened to one traveler who found herself stranded when her flight home from Christmas with her family was abruptly canceled – after she watched the aircraft land at her gate. Here’s her story and how she was able to turn a major headache into €600.
Can you tell me a little bit about the flight disruption you experienced?
I had a Delta flight (operated by Air France) scheduled from Bilbao to Paris and then Paris to Boston (where I currently work). I checked in, went through security, and waited at the gate. Our plane arrived from Paris, the passengers left the plane, and the crew told us to wait for boarding. We waited…and waited…and then, suddenly, they tell us they have a problem with the plane (the same one that came from Paris!) and that the flight was cancelled. We were told to pick up our luggage (which everyone had already checked in) and go to the company’s desk for assistance.
What did the airline do for you during this disruption?
When we went to the airline’s desk, it was crazy. Everyone was waiting in line but each person had a different problem, so the people with more urgent flight needs weren’t attended to first. I got lucky and was the third one called. They offered me a reroute that would take me to Madrid, then Amsterdam, then finally to Boston. I told them “no”. If the flight I purchased was just one stop, I expect the same from a rerouted flight.
In the end, the only thing they could do was fly me on Lufthansa to Munich the next day and then get me to Boston from there. Result: one day late to the office.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, they couldn’t get me another premium economy ticket and instead booked me on coach with an extra space seat (which was, simply, a seat that had no wall in front of it.) That means I lost my original flight, was one day late to work, and didn’t even get to fly back on the same ticket class I paid for.
Even better, my mom usually takes me to the airport. So I had to ask her to come all the way back out and pick me up – just so she could take me to the airport again the next day.
How did you find out about AirHelp?
I complained to Delta and they didn’t respond, so I started searching on Google for information on flight complaints. That’s when I found AirHelp.
How was your experience with AirHelp?
My experience was great! As some people say, when everything is easy, you think it’s a scam. So I searched on Google to see if AirHelp was a real company. After making sure everything was okay, I filed the complaint and the process was super easy. I was asked few questions to see if my flight was eligible and for permission to file a complaint in my name. Whole complaint filing time? 10 minutes! Even my mum could do it!!!
How much compensation were you awarded and how long did it take from the beginning to end of the claims process?
I was awarded with a full compensation: €600. From that amount was deducted the percentage (more than earned!) that Airhelp gets.
The whole process took six months: from my first contact with them until I got the money in my bank account. I know it’s not fast, but dealing with airlines NEVER is. I wasn’t getting any help from the airline, so having someone to deal with them for me – answering their questions, asking them how the process was going – was worth the six month wait.
How has this experience impacted your travel since then?
I now feel that there is someone I can ask for help, that knows how the whole process works, and is able to reach to departments or people that I wouldn’t be able to.
What advice would you give to travelers who experience similar situations?
I’m the type of person that understands delays, cancellations, and so on, but I also know my rights – and I fight for them. So now you can do that without having to deal with the airline directly, using a company exclusively dedicated to that. So folks, if you experience any problem with a flight, fight for your rights!!!
We’re so excited that we were able to help turn a frustrating situation for Maria into compensation! And we’re even more excited that she’s remaining aware of her rights and fighting for them at every turn. There’s nothing better than seeing travelers hold airlines accountable for their mistakes and helping make the air travel industry smoother for us all!
Image Credit: Andrei Dimofte