No, Airberlin doesn’t owe you $700 — it owes you $1,300

Mike Michalski and his wife are having trouble getting from Düsseldorf to Venice. Their flight is canceled and they are put on another plane, which delays their travels by about 11 hours. Are the Michalskis entitled to compensation under EU 261 rules? If so, how much money should they receive?

Question: I want to know if I am due any compensation for a canceled flight and put on another flight over 11 hours later. The flight on Airberlin was a twin engine prop plane and there was a burning smell coming from the baggage hold.

We were put on a new flight that left about 11 and a half hours after our original one. We did get vouchers of 10 euros each for food. Shouldn’t we receive some sort of compensation? I’m looking for $700 in vouchers toward a new flight. Thanks. Michael Michalski, Miami

Answer: Sorry to hear about your long delay in Düsseldorf (say that 10 times fast!).

I’m happy that Airberlin was able to reaccommodate you and even gave you and your wife vouchers for food, though they probably could have been more generous with those vouchers given the length of the delay.

Regarding your request for compensation, you may not know about a European regulation called EU 261. If you’re unfamiliar with it, you can read the terms and get answers to frequently asked questions on this website. If you don’t mind reading the fine print, here is a link to the official regulation.

Essentially, it gives travelers in Europe broader compensation than those in the U.S. when it comes to travel delays. In your case, you were the beneficiary of Article 7 (Right to Compensation), which reads:

Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall receive compensation amounting to: (a) EUR 250 for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less; (b) EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; (c) EUR 600 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b).

For the flight from Düsseldorf to Venice, you fell under paragraph (c), but you wouldn’t have known this had you not reached out to our advocates for assistance.

Related story:   I'm still waiting for my refund ... and waiting ... and waiting

I recently wrote about another traveler who had difficulties getting compensation via the EU 261, but your case was much easier to advocate. We contacted a representative from Airberlin and asked for a clarification of your rights.

You heard from Airberlin shortly after with an offer of 600 euros per person (a total of $1,345 as of this writing) under paragraph (c) above. I’m so glad we could help you achieve a happy outcome.

Mark Pokedoff

Four-time Emmy-award-winning television sports production specialist and frequent traveler. Longtime freelance writer and travel blog enthusiast. Proud papa of four amazing kids who have been upgraded to first class more than all their friends combined. Read more of Mark's articles here.

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