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Airlines Already Owe Travelers Almost $300 Million for Disrupted Flights in 2018

Analysis from AirHelp, a company that (for a fee) helps people get refunds and compensation from airlines following disrupted flights, says airlines already owe an estimated $290 million for delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights this year. The data refers specifically to U.S. travelers onboard flights operating under European Union jurisdiction.

According to AirHelp, “an estimated 415,800 US passengers have experienced a delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight throughout the first six months of 2018 … The number of US passengers entitled to compensation, as well as the amount US passengers are owed, have both increased by nearly 60% compared to last year.”

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AirHelp says approximately 260,000 experienced these issues during the same period last year. The company cites overwhelmed airports and a deepening shortage of pilots as reasons for these disruptions. Both factors could continue to drive delays and cancellations for months to come.

Money on the Table

The gist of AirHelp’s message is simple: There’s a lot of money out there that travelers may or may not realize they’re owed. EU law is particularly generous.

[st_content_ad]”For delayed or canceled flights, and in instances of denied boarding, passengers may be entitled to financial compensation of up to $700 per person in certain circumstances,” AirHelp points out. “The conditions for this stipulate that the departure airport must be within the EU, or the airline carrier must be based in the EU and landing in the EU. What’s more, the reason for the flight delay must be caused by the airline. Compensation may be claimed within three years of the disrupted flight.”

Out of Luck in the U.S.

The U.S. has far less comprehensive rules. The Department of Transportation does not mandate compensation minimums for delayed or cancelled flights, but according to the DOT, “In the case of cancelled flights you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation – even for non-refundable tickets.”

We have a helpful roundup of your full rights as a traveler.

Readers, have you ever sought compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight under EU law? Have you ever tried to get a refund here in the U.S.? Share your experience below.

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By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the About.com Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

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