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When do I have the right to complain to an airline?

Complaining to airlines is not usually easy. However, there are many situations in which we have the right to claim the reimbursement of the amount of the tickets or compensation for any incident that has occurred and is not our responsibility.

Below we explain the main reasons why we have the right as users to claim against an airline and how we should proceed in each case.

In which situation do I have the right to make a complaint against the airline?

One of the biggest problems is the lack of knowledge of the cases in which a user has the right to make a claim against the airline for any type of incident related to their flight or they are unaware of the assistance that the airline should provide in the event that something happens.

These are the main cases in which we have the right to claim and demand compensation:

  • Delay in take-off of more than 3 hours: once this time has been exceeded, the user has the right to claim compensation from the company operating the flight.
  • Cancellation of tickets: a flight is considered cancelled when it does not arrive at the destination for which the tickets were purchased. In other words, if there is a stopover on a flight and the second take-off does not take place, the flight is considered cancelled.  In these cases, or if the aforementioned three-hour delay occurs on the second flight, it is also possible to complain to the airline.
  • Force majeure or extraordinary causes: these refer to situations that can be considered unavoidable and are beyond the control of the airline. In these actual cases, there is no obligation to pay any kind of compensation. However, it is advisable to be informed when this happens, as in many cases it is often covered by this concept without being a cause of force majeure at all.

An example would be flights cancelled by COVID. Although many airlines consider this to be a cause of force majeure, it is possible to obtain compensation since it is a situation in which we are aware of the possibility of this happening.

  • Overbooking on our flight: the situation can occur, in fact it is not exceptional, in which more tickets are sold than seats. Although the fact that we are the ones who are affected and cannot board is the result of bad luck, it is also a cause for complaint.
  • Aircraft not adapted for people with mobility problems: there have been situations in which a person with reduced mobility or mobility problems has not been able to board because the boarding was not adapted to their needs.
  • Loss or damage to baggage: this is undoubtedly one of the most frequent cases that occur and for which we have the right to make a claim, even if our baggage finally turns up.

How should we proceed in cases of complaints?

Now that we have told you about the cases in which it is possible to complain to a flight company, we explain the different options that exist for filing a claim.

  • Direct contact with the airline: it is best to do so at the precise moment of the incident. If possible, we should do this at the airport itself, using the complaint forms available to users. If this is not possible, we can do it online using the forms that must be available on the airlines’ websites.

We must include all the details and attach the affected tickets.

  • State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA): in cases where the incident takes place at a Spanish airport or the company operating the flight is a Community company, and our complaint is not successful in the first way, we must send a copy of the complaint to the AESA, the agency responsible for compliance with current regulations on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations or delays.
  • Litigation in court: this is the last option and it is highly advisable to contact specialised lawyers to initiate litigation.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you think we can help you.

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