Travel

Ask Airfare Watchdog: New Help For Flyers In Europe

Q. I just wanted to thank you for all the great information in this column. I e-mailed you awhile back about a delayed flight out of Gatwick (6-hour delay). You told me to pursue the airline, which I did. But after going through the hoops with US Airways, I had about given up, although they did end up offering me a (useless) $600 voucher.

After more research, I contacted a company called EU Claim, and I wonder if you've heard of them? I discovered them through several different UK news outlets and they came highly recommended. I put in a claim with them, but because my flight was delayed and I was not denied boarding, I was originally told I did not have a claim.

However, and here's the good part. On Nov. 22 of this year, the European Courts of Justice ruled that delayed passengers had the same rights as those who had been denied boarding and were entitled to the same compensation. And it was also stated that a mechanical failure was not an "extraordinary circumstance" (as the airline had originally told me about my own delay). I received an e-mail from EU Claim and they have filed a claim for me through the airline. They do get 27 percent of the 600 euros they've requested should I win the claim, but otherwise charge nothing for their services. And from what others have told me, it's a better solution than trying to deal directly with the airline and getting nothing at all.

I thought I would just fill you in on this and hopefully, you'll share this with your readers. We may not have passenger laws here in the U.S. yet, but those of us who travel to Europe and back should know about these new developments.

If you're interested in sharing the link of EU Claim with your Web site visitors, they can be found at http://www.euclaim.co.uk/. Everything is transparent and you have access online to all documents they file on your behalf.

A. Yes, we had read about this company, and thank you for reminding us to share it with our readers. Not sure why the US Air voucher was useless, but I suppose it's better than nothing. But you are entitled to a cash payment, not a voucher, if you win your claim. Any long-haul flight leaving the EU that arrives four or more hours late may be subject to a 600-euro penalty per passenger, paid in cash. Good luck with your claim. Readers, if anyone has had luck with this company, please e-mail us and let us know.

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