This App Can Help You Get Money When an Airline Screws Up

Amid the list of regular mishaps and freak occurrences that threaten to screw up your air travel, flight delays and lost baggage are certainly a familiar foe. In a perfect world, showing up to the airport and having your plans foiled by inclement weather or an airline foible should entitle you to some kind of reimbursement, although that isn't always the case. 

While you can’t claim compensation for a domestic flight delay in the US, there’s still a bunch of reasons that you might be eligible to receive payment for an airline’s blunder. Wading through customer service bureaucracy, however, is something you probably want to avoid at all costs. Luckily, though, there’s an app for that, and it’ll streamline the process of filing a claim when an airline might owe you money. AirHelp scans your boarding pass, detects whether or not your flight has been cancelled or delayed, and then gives you a quote detailing how much compensation you can claim from the airline. Miraculously, the process only takes about three minutes, the company notes.

In light of some of the more alarming airline news of late, which has seen passengers forcibly removed from flights, aggressive flight attendants and mass cancellations, AirHelp sounds like travel insurance for the modern age. The company also provides an exhaustive list of reasons why you might be able to wrestle more out of airlines when they invariably do something bad, detailing the myriad inconveniences that arise while traveling.

According to Bloomberg, the company has handled 2 million claims since first launching in 2013, and maintains a high degree of success: So far, AirHelp has helped users claim a combined $195 million in compensation from airlines, with the average payout factoring in around $500-$600.

The majority of the company’s success has been achieved in Europe, as regulations permit customers to receive reimbursement for regular flight delays. In the US, though, lost and delayed luggage, in addition to involuntary boarding denials and tarmac delays, afford you the opportunity to file a claim. If the airline loses your bags, AirHelp requires you to display receipts for your lost items -- which seems like a pittance, really, especially when a third party is handling all the arbitration. For its trouble, AirHelp takes 25% of the claim, and 50% if it turns into a legal dispute.

Most claims are settled within two months, the company notes, and it’s definitely not above sparring with an airline's laywers. As its CEO Henrik Zillmer told Bloomberg: “We’ve sued airlines more than 30,000 times and won 95 percent of those claims. So the airlines know that if we submit a claim, there’s just no way around it.”  

The new AirHelp scanning app is available for download in Apple and Google Play app stores.

[h/t Bloomberg via Telegraph Travel

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.