2017 represents an absolute record for Romania’s airline industry – passenger traffic at all airports in the country exceeded 20 million, which is a 23 percent increase over the previous year. However, the increase in this sector has brought some rise in the travel disruptions as well. Most Romanian travelers are not aware that they are entitled to compensation if their flights are delayed, canceled or overbooked.
According to Flight Refund, a company dedicated to resolving passengers’ legitimate requests for airline services, last year there were 782 flights that had a long delay or even been canceled. In these situations, under European Regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitled to receive compensation from the airline of up to EUR 600 referring to the time period of the past 3 years.
“Unfortunately, less than 1 percent of passengers know that they can receive such compensation. Also, travelers do not know they can call for help and receive the money within a reasonable time. For last year, out of the 782 problematic flights, roughly 500 qualified for compensation, which means that based on our estimates around EUR 22 million were virtually lost by those entitled to compensation”, said Anikó Bolyó (photo), General Manager of Flight Refund.
According to her, even if the passengers know their rights, claiming a compensation is a long, expensive and arduous legal process requiring a firm knowledge of international law, and as such is a discouraging route for most people.
The process at Flight Refund is very simple; it starts with the passenger registering his or her claim on the Flight Refund website (flight-refund.eu/ro) giving all necessary info about the delayed or cancelled flight. Flight Refund experts verify the claim and assess the responsibility of the airline. The result of this investigation is communicated to the passenger within 3 days, and if the case is accepted, the customer has nothing more to do, but wait. Cases which are taken to the next phase are resolved with a 98 percent success rate – Flight Refund charges a flat success fee, even if the case escalates to a costly legal process.
Flight Refund provides pro-active help not only to individual passengers but to travel agencies’ customers as well.