Here’s how to get an airline to pay your EU 261 claim

How to get an EU 261 Claim paid

When British Airways canceled Lawrence Karp’s recent flight from London to Philadelphia, the airline rebooked him and the other three people in his party on a flight to Newark, N.J. But it denied his EU 261 claim, the European air travel protection law.

Why? According to British Airways, a cabin crew strike caused the flight cancellation. And it contends this strike relieves the airline of paying the EU 261 claim. Does it?

A rejected EU 261 claim

Karp isn’t the only European air passenger to be denied an EU 261 claim lately. Iberia also denied Beth Agnew’s EU 261 claim after a flight cancellation and seat downgrade. In Agnew’s case, Iberia canceled the flight because of a technical fault. And although Austrian Airlines provided Mary Kopacz with a hotel room and a flight the following day, it ignored her EU 261 claim.

Karp and Kopacz were entitled to compensation of 600 euros apiece for delays and cancellations of flights over 3,500 kilometers. And because Iberia had involuntarily downgraded Agnew, she should have received between 30 and 75 percent of the price of her original ticket.

Extraordinary circumstances

Both British Airways and Iberia invoked a provision of EU 261 that relieves airlines of their obligation to provide compensation when delays and cancellations are the result of “extraordinary circumstances” in denying Karp’s and Agnew’s claims.

As we’ve previously noted, we’re seeing a significant rise in the number of EU 261 denials based on “extraordinary circumstances.” Because the term lacks a transparent definition, airlines subject to EU 261 appear to be gaming the loophole in denying claims. This has led to a European Union Court of Justice ruling that “unforeseen technical problems” cannot be invoked to deny EU 261 compensation, but “hidden manufacturing defects” and acts of sabotage and terrorism can.

Advocacy efforts

Unfortunately, when our advocacy director, Michelle Couch-Friedman, spoke to our executive contacts at both Iberia and British Airways, they remained unwilling to approve the EU261 claims.  Friedman also reached out to Austrian Airlines on Kopacz’s behalf, but the airline never responded to her contact before publication of our story about the case.

Each country subject to EU 261 has a national enforcement body which handles complaints against airlines based in their respective countries. Complaints can be filed by completing Air Passenger Rights EU Complaint Form, which asks for flight information details and questions, such as whether the passengers arrived at the check-in and boarding gates before the times stated on their tickets, and whether the airlines provided them with information about their rights.

Appealing an EU 261 claim to a higher authority

When both British Airways and Iberia reiterated their refusals of Karp’s and Agnew’s EU 261 claims, Friedman advised both Karp and Agnew to file complaints with the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority and Spain’s Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea. Kopacz filed with Austria’s Agentur für Passagier- und Fahrgastrechte, as you’ll see below.

Complaining to the national enforcement bodies would not necessarily elicit the compensation from any of the airlines. But it does allow the authorities to review their cases and sanction the airlines for wrongful denial of their claims.

Success!

We subsequently heard from Karp and Kopacz. After Karp filed a complaint with the Civil Aviation Authority about his case, he received the following from British Airways:

On reviewing the claim, we are prepared to offer EU compensation with no admission of liability. The distance of the disrupted journey is more than 3,500 kilometers as calculated in accordance with EU legislation; therefore each Passenger is entitled to 600 euros which is a total [of] 2,400 euros, and converts to $2,881.46. We will also cover the travel expenses to Philadelphia, which were quoted as $100 on provision of receipts.

Karp accepted the offer.

...And more success

After we published Kopacz’s story, we learned that she had filed a claim with The Agency for Passenger Rights in Austria. It contacted Austrian Airlines about her case. In the comments on that story, a representative of Austrian Airlines announced that the airline would “of course” pay her EU 261 claim.

Hopefully, Agnew’s case will have a similar resolution. And we hope that the European Union will come up with a solid definition of “extraordinary circumstances” to close this loophole.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
This free newsletter will save you from scams.