How does Airhelp work? – Compensation for delayed or canceled flights

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Airline delays. They can spoil important work meetings, long-awaited family gatherings, and vacations. But did you know that you may be entitled to compensation for delayed flights?

That's how it is! In certain circumstances - especially when you fly to or from Europe - you can request compensation from airlines when something goes wrong.

In fact, you may even be entitled to compensation by law.

So whatever the flight delay, it's always worth investigating whether you can get a cash payment from the offending airline.

how airhelp works

Of course you can present the documentation on your own and for free, but if you don't have time or can't bother, that's where AirHelp comes in., a company specialized in airline claims.

What is AirHelp?

AirHelp is a Berlin-based startup that helps victims of delays, lost luggage, and other travel mishaps apply for compensation for their misfortune.

The service will contact the airline on your behalf, so you don't have to go through the process of paperwork and phone calls on your own.

Sounds great, but should you use AirHelp to claim compensation? What can you really be compensated for? And most importantly, how much does Airhelp charge for its services?

Good thing you asked, because in this article we will answer all those questions and many more.

We'll start by taking a look at what you can claim as compensation and then we'll dive into the details of AirHelp.

We will then end the article by discussing the pros and cons of using AirHelp to claim compensation from the airline.

Let's get down to business!

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Travel issues for which AirHelp can claim compensation

You can be compensated for a wide range of airline mishaps.

From delayed luggage to overbooking flights, you can get a check for the time you wasted looking for new flights or buying new clothes, etc.

Here's a quick look at all the things you can claim airline compensation for.

Select flight delays and cancellations

compensation for delayed flights
Have you suffered a delay when flying to, from or within Europe? You may be entitled to compensation under EU law 261. Image Credit: Suganth via Unsplash

If you fly to, from or within the EU, your flight is covered by EU law 261.

This law regulates the rights of passengers and provides compensation to air passengers who suffer mishaps while traveling on a commercial airline. What to do today in Barcelona for free: The complete guide 2022

One of the main benefits of EU law 261 is compensation for flight delays and cancellations.

Compensation starts when your EU flight is delayed by 3 hours or more, and the amount owed to you continues to increase based on the length of the delay.

The table below shows you exactly the compensation you are entitled to when an EU flight is delayed:

Delay less than 3 hours 3-4 hour delay Delay of more than 4 hours Never arrived/flight canceled Distance
N/A €250 (~$297) €250 (~$297) €250 (~$297) Flights >1,500 kilometers (932 mi)
NOT AVAILABLE €400 (~$476) €400 (~$476) €400 (~$476) Intra-community flights <1,500 kilometers (932 mi)
NOT AVAILABLE €400 (~$476) €400 (~$476) €400 (~$476) Flights to/from the EU <1,500 kilometers (932 mi) and >3,500 kilometers (2,175 mi)
NOT AVAILABLE €300 (~$357) €600 (~$714) €600 (~$714) Flights to/from the EU <3,500 kilometers (2,175 mi)

The airline must also provide you with food and a hotel room during layovers of a certain length, usually for long overnight delays.

Interestingly, EU law 261 also states that the airline must provide access to 2 free phone calls, fax messages and emails, but you probably have that covered with your smartphone.

Important tip: EU law 261 also applies to Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and the 'outermost regions' of the EU. This includes places like French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Réunion, Saint Martin, Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary Islands.

Flights to the EU on an EU airline are also covered by the law.

However, not all EU flight delays are entitled to this compensation.

Flights delayed due to "extraordinary circumstances" are not covered by EU 261. This includes things like:

  • acts of sabotage
  • acts of terrorism
  • Air traffic control restrictions
  • air traffic control strikes
  • Airport employee strikes
  • lightning strikes
  • Medical emergencies
  • political restlessness
  • severe adverse weather conditions
  • Sudden airport radar malfunction

In these cases, the airline is usually not required to compensate you if it can show that it had no way of avoiding the delay in question.

Therefore, if the delay, for example, is due to the fact that the airline did not properly defrost the plane, you will be compensated.

On the other hand, if it was too cold for the airline to defrost the plane, you will not be entitled to compensation.

While strikes by airport and air traffic control staff are not covered by EU 261, strikes by airlines are covers. How to find cheap flights on Skyscanner 2022

If you have been affected by a recent strike, be sure to claim the compensation that corresponds to you.

In the case of airline delays, You are entitled to compensation up to 3 years after having suffered a flight delay or cancellation.

Also, if an airline gives you a voucher, hotel or food during the delay, you are still entitled to cash compensation under EU law 261, so don't miss out.

Compensation for lost connections

EU law 261 also establishes compensation for passengers who miss connections.

As long as your connecting flights are on the same ticket, you are entitled to compensation if you miss a connection for any reason beyond your control.

For example, connections due to flight delays, overbooked flights or a strike by airline employees will receive compensation of up to 600 Euros (~$714).

Once again, this benefit only applies to flights that have the EU as their origin, destination or destination.

In addition, you are still entitled to EU 261 compensation if the airline puts you on a later flight (as required by law) or provides you with a hotel if a missed connection forces you to spend the night in a connecting city.

However, as expected, connections missed due to passenger error or connections booked on different itineraries are not entitled to EU 261 compensation.

Suggestion The missed connection allowance is largely redundant, as most missed connections are due to long flight delays.

If this is the case for your missed connection, you would already be compensated for your delay of more than 3 hours and you are not entitled to additional compensation for the missed connection.

Airline overbooking compensation (overbooked flights)

It is common practice for airlines to overbook their flights. This practice was put in place because, most of the time, not everyone who has a ticket for a flight is actually going to fly on it.

Some customers may not show up, others may miss a connection, and some will switch to an earlier or later flight of their own accord.

But on the rare occasions when everyone does shows up for a flight, some customers may be denied boarding because there simply aren't enough seats for everyone.

Most of the time, airlines compensate people who are denied boarding due to overbooked flights on the spot.

We've seen domestic US passengers get up to $1,000 in compensation for overbooked flights, and international passengers have gotten much more.

When you accept this type of compensation by choice, you are considered to have voluntarily relinquished your seat and you are not eligible for additional compensation through AirHelp.

However, both the US and the EU require airlines to compensate passengers who are involuntarily denied boarding.

This occurs when you still want to board and the airline forces you to give up your seat despite offering flight vouchers or other compensation on the spot.

In the United States, passengers are entitled to compensation of up to $1,350 when this occurs.

Likewise, EU law 261 requires flights to, from or within the EU to compensate passengers up to 600 Euros (~$714) when they are involuntarily denied boarding.

But again, agreeing to give up your seat may make you ineligible for this compensation.

Also, keep in mind that flights from non-EU carriers (think United, American, Singapore Airlines, etc.) to the EU are No covered by this law when they travel from outside the EU to the EU.

Instead, these airlines are covered by the laws of their home countries.

However, flights from non-EU airlines from from the EU are subject to EU law, regardless of the place of departure of the flight, as long as the destination or origin is within the EU.

In our opinion, you should accept the airline's offer at the gate if you want to be compensated for an overbooked flight.

Otherwise, someone else can take the flight and receive compensation in your place.

However, regardless of the overbooking situation, the airline is obligated to rebook you on a later flight.

Involuntary demotions

If you have purchased a first, business or higher economy class ticket and ended up in a lower cabin due to a flight cancellation or delay, you are also entitled to compensation when flying to, from or within the EU.

EU law 261 states that passengers who rebook in a lower cabin are entitled to a refund of 30% to 75% of the original cost of their ticket If your flight was also delayed, you will also be entitled to the compensation mentioned above.

Here is the compensation you will receive for involuntary delays to, from or within the EU:

  • short haul flights (>1,500 kilometers) – 30% refund
  • medium distance flights (<1,500 kilometers (932 mi) and >3,500 kilometers (2,175 mi)) – 50% rebate
  • long haul flights (<3,500 kilometers) – 75% refund

There is currently no law in the US regarding airline downgrades in the US However, you can request compensation from the airline directly.

Plus, you can dispute the charge with your credit card if you don't end up flying in the class you reserved (or if you don't get a refund of the cost difference).

Flights booked with points are still eligible for compensation when downgraded. You will be compensated based on the cost of the ticket paid, which can be quite significant on long-haul flights.

Compensation for lost luggage

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You can request compensation for lost, delayed or damaged luggage. Image Credit: via Shutterstock

Finally, you may be entitled to compensation if you have suffered baggage delays, lost or damaged baggage in the US or the EU.

Although AirHelp provides valuable information on what to do in these situations on its website, it doesn't really help with filing claims unless you're an AirHelp Plus member (more on that later).

However, the process is quite simple: when your bag is damaged, lost or delayed, file a claim with baggage services as soon as you land.

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Then, document all purchases and keep receipts for all incidental and replacement expenses that occur as a result of a damaged, lost, or delayed bag.

Once your luggage appears, file a claim directly with the airline. In this claim, you must request reimbursement for the things purchased due to the loss or delay of your suitcase.

An important piece of advice Credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® also include baggage insurance.

In many cases, it will be easier for you to get reimbursed for incidental purchases or re-baggage costs with your card, but keep in mind that you may also need to file a claim with the airline.

In case of damaged baggage, file a claim while you are at the airport. Usually, the airline will try to negotiate with you on the spot, offering to reimburse you for new baggage or to send your bag for repair.

You can try to follow up for compensation after the fact, but unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will receive anything.

If your baggage is never returned to you, you will need to follow up with the airline to get a refund for your baggage items.

According to AirHelp, the average award under US air passenger rights laws and the Montreal Convention for lost bags is between $1,525 and $3,500.

According to EU 261, you are entitled to receive up to €1,300 (~$1,540) if your baggage is lost, delayed or damaged.

However, it should be noted that there is no standard EU form 261 for this request; instead, you have to contact the airline on your own within 21 days of the baggage being delayed.

Lost luggage must be reported within 7 days.

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We recommend that you keep your baggage receipt to help you determine how much the airline owes you.

However, this receipt is not required by the EU 261 nor by the laws of the USA and the Montreal Convention for compensation. Just be sure to save your receipts to claim reimbursement for interim expenses.

How much does AirHelp charge?

Fortunately, AirHelp works on a "no pay, no charge" system.

This means that you do not have to pay AirHelp unless you win a case and receive compensation from the airline in question.

However, AirHelp's pricing structure is hidden on their website and is not clearly displayed when you file a claim. This is frustrating, especially since the fees can be high.

For most claims, AirHelp charges a flat rate of 35% of the compensation amount for all claims that are paid.

Additionally, if legal action is required, AirHelp takes an additional 15% of compensation.

The legal fee is only charged if legal action is required against the airline, but the company's pricing page doesn't go into detail about what exactly this entails.

This means that AirHelp could keep up to 50% of your compensation, so it can be quite an expensive endeavor when compared to seeking compensation on your own.

How AirHelp works to request compensation

AirHelp's greatest strength is simplicity. Instead of having to manually fill out compensation claim forms and provide proof that your flight was delayed, AirHelp will do all of this for you.

All you have to do is fill out a quick form on the AirHelp website and the company will do all the work for you.

Here's how to use AirHelp:

what is airhelp


Enter your flight details and check if it can be compensated. Image Credit: AirHelp

1) Go to the AirHelp website and click look towards the center of the screen.

Here you will find a form in which you can enter the origin and destination of the flight in which you have suffered a delay.

Enter your details here and click the button check compensation to the right of the form.

2) Now, you will be asked if you had any connection Flight. Answer yes or no, and then click the green button Continue button.

cancellation vueling flights


Fill in the reason why your flight has been canceled on this screen. Image Credit: AirHelp

3) You will now be asked what went wrong on your flight. Select one of the options presented and click the button Continue "Continue" button.

Depending on the option you have chosen, AirHelp will ask you for more information, such as the arrival time at your destination, the reason for the delay, etc. Answer these questions to the best of your ability and press Continue.

Entering flight details in AirHelp


Enter your flight details on this page. Image Credit: AirHelp

4) Now, AirHelp will ask for your airline and your flight number. Enter it and click Continues in and then you will be asked for a series of data about you and about the people who travel with you.

Please note that it may be useful to carry a copy of your ticket to obtain information such as the booking reference, etc.

flight cancellation compensation


By signing this box, AirHelp reserves the right to manage your case. Image Credit: AirHelp

5) You will now be asked to digitally sign a form on the AirHelp website which gives the company the right to handle your case against the airline.

In addition, this document includes a link to the AirHelp price list; Don't worry, we'll see about it shortly.

cancellation flights how to claim


Finally, upload a copy of your boarding pass or e-ticket to the AirHelp website. Image Credit: AirHelp

6) Now that you have granted AirHelp rights to your case, you will be asked to upload a copy of your boarding pass or e-ticket. Click the button Continue once you've uploaded the file, and AirHelp will start working on your case.

AirHelp notes that most claims take approximately 3-4 months to process, although some claims may take longer.

Completion time is highly dependent on whether the case has to go through a court process and how long it takes for airlines to respond to the AirHelp contact.

You can contact AirHelp at any time to get updated information about your claim.

AirHelp Opinions. Is Airhelp safe?

Airhelp reviews on the internet and on Trustpilot are very good. In fact, Airhelp has excellent opinions and ratings, so we can affirm that it is a very good, safe and reliable service. Here you will find opinions and reviews of Airhelp in Spanish.

AirHelp has a score of 4.7/5 on TrustPilot. Good reviews cite prompt communication and good customer service, while the bad reviews speak mainly of a delay in obtaining compensation.

airhelp reviews

However, the actual time to obtain compensation depends to a large extent on the response capacity of the airline.

Find cheap flights with Hopper with the help of AI (Artificial Intelligence). Very interesting alternative to Skyscanner.

Advantages and disadvantages of using AirHelp

airhelp phone spain


AirHelp makes the EU 261 claim process easy, but it may not be worth the cost. Image Credit: VanveenJF via Unsplash

Below we have compiled a list of pros and cons of using AirHelp for delays. Use them to help you decide if AirHelp is right for you.

Advantages of using AirHelp

  • The service offers an easy way to request compensation for oversold, delayed or downgraded flights. You don't have to fill out EU 261 claim forms or go directly to the airline.
  • AirHelp Plus can help you claim compensation for lost, delayed or damaged baggage.
  • You can request compensation for delayed, canceled or overbooked flights in the last 3 years.

Cons of using AirHelp

  • The service is left with a cut of between 35% and 50% of your compensation. Usually this is No it's worth it for simple EU 261 claims, as filing the claim on your own is a relatively straightforward process.
  • AirHelp Plus has a relatively small set of premium features.

So is AirHelp worth it and is it safe?

Airhelp is safe and worth the 100%.

Filing an EU 261 claim is not too difficult. In general, it is enough to send an email to your airline after a delay, stating that - under EU law 261 - you are entitled to compensation for the long delay.

You can too fill out this official EU form 261 that will cover all your bases.

AirHelp pays off for downgrades, overbookings, and other more complicated mishaps. These may require more extensive paperwork than email or the standard EU form 261.

If, for example, you have Vueling flight cancellations or Ryanair delays, Airhelp is an option to take into account.

Airhelp Telephone Spain

Telephone Airhelp Spain 11811 available the 24 hours, through which you can obtain information and contact details of AIRHELP. The price of the service is three euros and one cent per minute, taxes included.

The telephone information service 11811 It is provided by an independent operator.

Final thoughts on Airhelp and how it works

All in all, we think AirHelp is a solid service if you don't want to deal with the hassle of airline compensation.

Although you'll get less money than filing the claim yourself, you'll save time by downloading this task on AirHelp. 

Now we want to know your opinion. Have you used AirHelp to request compensation for a delayed flight? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments.

Frequent questions

What compensation can I receive through AirHelp?

AirHelp can help you claim compensation for flight overbookings, delays and cancellations. AirHelp Plus members can also claim compensation for baggage damage, loss and delay.

How much does AirHelp charge?

AirHelp keeps 35% of your compensation if your claim does not require legal assistance.

If your claim requires legal assistance, AirHelp keeps the 50% of the compensation.

Can AirHelp claim compensation for US domestic flights?

No, there is no federal law that protects delayed passengers on US flights. Therefore, AirHelp cannot request compensation for US domestic flights.

However, AirHelp Plus members can get help applying for goodwill compensation on these flights. This is because the service helps to request compensation for things that are not covered by the EU 261.

How long does it take to be compensated through AirHelp?

AirHelp notes that most claims are processed within 3-4 months of filing. However, claims that require a court process may take longer.

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6 comentarios en «¿Cómo funciona Airhelp? – Indemnización por vuelos retrasados o cancelados»

    • No te hagas ilusiones tan rápido, amigo. Siempre hay leyes y regulaciones que incluso AirHelp no puede evitar. No te confíes demasiado, los vuelos retrasados y cancelados todavía pueden ser un dolor de cabeza. 🤷‍♂️🛬

    • Sí, he utilizado AirHelp y funcionan de maravilla. Me ayudaron a obtener una compensación justa por un vuelo retrasado. Su servicio al cliente es excelente y hacen todo el trabajo por ti. ¡Totalmente recomendado!

  1. ¡Qué interesante! Nunca había oído hablar de AirHelp, pero suena como una gran solución para los problemas de vuelo. ¿Alguien ha tenido experiencia con ellos?

  2. ¡Vaya! Nunca había oído hablar de AirHelp, pero parece una opción interesante para reclamar indemnizaciones por vuelos problemáticos. ¿Alguien ha tenido alguna experiencia con ellos?


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