Personal Finance

Flight delayed? This firm wants to get you paid

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Who among us has suffered an airline delay or cancellation, or even been bumped from a flight? Plenty.

Who’s been compensated for the inconvenience? Probably not very many.

One Berlin-based firm, AirHelp, is trying to rectify that, educating flyers around the world of their rights to compensation — and, for a fee, helping them secure it.

What rights? U.S. air passengers could be forgiven for asking.

Indeed, if you’re flying domestic in the States, airlines aren’t legally required to do anything for you if your flight is delayed or cancelled. If your flight is overbooked, your carrier might or might not compensate you, depending on circumstances.

“If you compare the level of rights you have as a passenger flying domestic in the U.S., it’s quite low compared to Canada, the European Union or even South America,” said Christian Nielsen, chief legal officer at AirHelp.

Paul Hudson, president of Sarasota, Florida-based passenger advocacy group FlyersRights.org, agreed. “The U.S. is a black hole,” he said, compared to other nations in terms of airline customer rights. “The only way you get compensation for domestic delays is if you’re bumped.

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“Everything else is pretty much up to the airlines,” Hudson said.

There are cases when American air passengers are, in fact, covered. That’s when they either board a foreign…



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