A compensation letter is a written document addressed to an airline to claim any money owed to you as a result of a delayed or canceled flight. This includes meals and drinks taken while waiting at the airport, as well as a refund of flight ticket costs if you ended up not using your ticket.
This letter should be sent to the airline along with all receipts of reasonable expenses incurred and any documents showing you had booked a flight. These documents include your ticket, baggage tags, boarding pass and a copy of your passport. It is important to have your facts straight before writing a compensation letter. This means you must find out the cause of delay or cancellation. Getting regular updates of the situation as you wait also gives you additional information to use in supporting your claim.
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How to write a compelling compensation letter
It's important to note that eligibility for compensation is limited to whether the reason for flight delay or cancellation is within the airline's control. However, there are several key points that are essential for your letter to make it as compelling as possible. These are a description of your situation, how much you're claiming from the airline and the correct regulation supporting your claim.
A compelling letter requires a vivid account of your flight experience as it provides a reason for your claim. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate regulations supporting your claim. Note that the regulation that applies to your case depends on your point of origin, whether the US or Europe. Remember to address your letter to the airline you flew with as it may be different from the one you had initially booked.
AirHelp is the world's largest air passenger rights organization, here to help air travelers secure compensation for delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights.
We make claiming compensation easy and stress-free. Whether you are unsure of your rights, lack the time, or simply want an expert to handle your entire claim for you, AirHelp can help you get what you are rightfully owed.
We operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you can check your compensation risk-free.
Claiming Compensation for Flight Delays and Cancellations
How do you know when you should claim compensation for a delayed or canceled flight? Though the law can be complicated, we're here to break it down for you:
Delayed flights: you may be able to claim compensation if your flight arrived 3 hours or more late.
Canceled flights: you may be eligible for compensation if your flight was canceled less than 14 days before it was due to depart.
Overbookings: you are owed compensation any time you are denied boarding through no fault of your own — so long as you didn't voluntarily give up your seat.
We should note that if extraordinary circumstances were involved, arirlines are under no obligation to pay compensation. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include bad weather, travel restrictions, and air traffic control strikes. Though these situations cause delays and cancellations, the airline isn't at fault, so can't be expected to offer compensation.
Remember these are European flight regulations and so only apply to flights departing from an EU airport, or flights landing in the EU with a European airline. The table below makes it clear which flights are covered:
How Much Flight Compensation?
Table shows values in € as specified in EC 261
In some circumstances the compensation amount may differ from the standard amounts shown above. The easiest way to find out what you’re owed is to use our Compensation Calculator.
What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Canceled
If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:
- Hold onto your boarding pass and other travel documents.
- Ask why the flight was delayed or canceled.
- Request food, drinks, and if necessary, free transport and hotel accommodation.
- If you had a canceled flight, ask for an alternative flight or a refund.
- Keep all receipts of any extra expenses you may have had, including necessary food, clothing, etc.
- Be careful not to sign any waivers or accept vouchers that will require you to waive your right to compensation.
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