AirHelp fights for Justice: easyJet withholds compensation from its passengers
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- AirHelp analyzed over 27,000 compensation claims against easyJet, based on flight disruptions
- Unless they received an official letter from an attorney, easyJet only paid compensation in less than 2% of the cases
- Airlines are currently not sanctioned for stalling tactics
NEW YORK, May 24, 2018 – It is almost impossible for consumers to receive compensation following flight disruptions with easyJet without extensive legal support. This is the result of an analysis published by AirHelp, the world’s leading flight disruption compensation company. Using its own internal data, AirHelp has investigated over 27,000 claims for compensation following flight disruptions from easyJet. AirHelp has discovered that unless legal action is taken, the airline only compensates passengers in less than two percent of cases.
Compensation is paid more frequently and faster with legal assistance
While the likelihood of financial compensation without legal assistance is very low, a claim is eight times more likely to be successful if handled by a specialized lawyer from AirHelp’s global legal network. In addition, the response time of the airline dramatically shifted from 80 days to just over 40 days when the claim request was made by a lawyer.
This stalling tactic is common practice for many airlines. Henrik Zillmer, CEO and co-founder of AirHelp, summarizes the current legal obligations and explains why some airlines are not afraid to stop customers from receiving the compensation that is rightfully theirs:
“If airlines are responsible for flight delays or cancellations or deny boarding to a passenger, they will be required to pay compensation of up to $700 per person. For this, according to EU law, the affected passengers only have to contact the responsible airline with a letter. Unfortunately, this does not work so easily in practice.”
“Many airlines are delaying or neglecting the legitimate payment of a claim for compensation for flight problems and they are not being sanctioned for it. They know that travelers will think twice before contacting a lawyer and going to court against a large company because they do not know their rights and are afraid of going through an expensive and endless legal battle. For the airlines, on the other hand, going to court merely means the employment of a permanent lawyer.
“Therefore, many airlines stall their passengers with the hope that disrupted travelers will give up their claim. The airlines can save a lot of money that should actually be paid out to their consumers as their right for compensation is clearly outlined under European law EC 261, which gives passengers who experience lengthy delays, flight cancellations or boarding denials on all flights departing from the EU, and flights to the EU on an EU airline. Our internal data clearly shows that airlines like easyJet ignore claims until they see we are willing to go as far as to go to court on behalf of our passengers. In 2017, our data shows that easyJet accumulated a liability of over $140 million in compensation from delayed and canceled flights, so there is a lot of money on the table for disrupted passengers. We invite easyJet to share their data publicly to demonstrate otherwise.
“These unfair practices must be stopped. Airlines that deliberately withhold payments should be sanctioned to prevent large companies from circumventing the protection of consumers established by law. Even when customers receive a response, travellers can’t tell if they are really not eligible for compensation upon receipt of a negative answer. A positive response is also unacceptable when it doesn’t come accompanied by concession of the right amount of compensation and a request of their bank account to send a transfer immediately. And many airlines know this. At AirHelp, our customers continuously tell us how difficult it is to enforce a compensation payment without our support and data shows that 92% of U.S.passengers don’t know their rights*. That is why we have been helping passengers worldwide for five years now.
“During this time, we have already helped five million passengers receive $369 million in compensation by offering risk-free enforcement of their rights and if necessary, going to court for them. Unfortunately, 75% of U.S. travelers* feel that airlines aren’t providing them with enough information on air passenger rights, so we calculate that globally, 13 million passengers miss out on $5.8 billion in compensation every year. Even when airlines say to “work” with consumer associations or arbitration boards as external advisories, the truth is that only a specialized legal team will be able to bring the airlines to court when travelers’ claims are wrongfully rejected as the decisions of entities like these are often not binding”.
AirHelp has seen airlines around the world successfully and efficiently handle their incoming claims, including the Dutch airline, KLM, the US carrier, United Airlines, and the Scandinavian airline, SAS. With customer satisfaction at the heart of their business practices, the average response time of these airlines that put claim handling as a priority is often within a 10 day window, which shows that it is possible to operate according to the law. AirHelp calculates that even if all eligible claim compensation is paid, it would only lightly impact ticket prices, as in less than $1.15 per passenger. According to a report published by the EU DG Move, the cost per ticket for long-haul flights would merely increase by around $1.90 per passenger.
Flight problems: These are the passengers’ rights
In case of a delayed or canceled flight, and in instances of denied boarding, passengers may be entitled to financial compensation of up to $700 per person in certain circumstances. The condition for this stipulates that the departure airport is within the EU or that the airline carrying it is based in the EU. Furthermore, the reason for the delay in flight operations must be caused by the airline. The right to financial compensation must be claimed within three years of the delayed date of the flight.
On the other hand, extraordinary circumstances such as storms, or medical emergencies mean that the operating airline is exempt from the obligation to compensate air passengers.
In the U.S., passengers are not able to claim compensation for flight delays, but if they are denied boarding or “bumped” due to an overbooked flight, they may be eligible to claim between $250 – $1,300 from the airline, in addition to a new flight to the traveler’s final destination.
In early 2018, AirHelp launched a brand new tool to help travelers find flights that were eligible for compensation. With their permission, and by simply connecting their inbox via AirHelp.com, this tool considers eligible flights up to three years prior. With AirHelp’s app, affected passengers can also check disrupted eligibility on-the-go. If their flight is deemed eligible, air passengers can submit a claim via the app in a matter of seconds. The AirHelp app is free and available at the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
*Unless otherwise stated, all data is provided by SurveyMonkey. 2,062 respondents participated in this survey, which took place in February 2018. The results are representative of air travelers (ages 18 and older) in the United States.
Since launching in 2013, AirHelp has helped more than five million people process airline compensation claims worth almost $369 million in total reimbursement. AirHelp has offices across the world, is available in 30 countries, offers support in 16 languages, and employs more than 500 employees globally.