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One of my cousin had to travel to Asia because of some emergency situation. I paid a huge price for the earliest available flight, but the airline (United) dropped him at the destination 12 hours late. When asked, they were compensating him with 200$ of airline credit. As I said it was an emergency and he had a huge bump because of that. Is that all he can get from airlines as compensation?

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What countries did you fly from, to, and via (if appropriate)? What country is the airline registered in? What was the reason given for the delay? That'll all make a huge difference to what (if anything) you can get... –  Gagravarr Jul 22 '13 at 18:05
    
It's united airlines and he was travelling to india. There was no reason provided. –  user209603 Jul 22 '13 at 22:47
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@user209603 There is always a reason— weather, mechanical problems, congestion or air traffic control restrictions, crew availability, aircraft availability, etc. If it's within the last four days or so you can use the Flight Status tool on united.com; e.g. UA1025 for 2013-07-22 has the status "Arrived Gate 40 Minutes Late (Delayed - Air traffic control)." The reason is vital, as no airline would be accountable for weather or air traffic control delays, but might at least make a gesture for mechanical or scheduling problems. –  choster Jul 23 '13 at 0:38
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You say you paid a premium for the flight on short notice. Was the delay so significant that the reason for going was missed? (Eg the funeral, urgent meeting or whatever happened without your cousin?) If so the magic words are "trip in vain" - in some cases people have received credit for future travel equivalent to the amount they spent on the ticket. I don't know if this applies to your cousin's situation or not. –  Kate Gregory Jan 12 at 18:29
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2 Answers

Technically no compensation is due - there are no US or India regulations that require airlines to provide compensation in cases like this. If the flight passed through Europe then there are some regulations that may have been relevant, but presuming it was United Airlines all the way then it would not have been via Europe.

United Airlines typically does compensate for extended delays, in the form that you've stated - either a credit for future travel, or a number of miles. The exact value will depend on his status with United.

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Tere is a compensation on all flights from or to EU. Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 – Article 5 – Compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of cancellation of flights – Exemption from the obligation to pay compensation – Cancellation due to extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union Technical problems cannot constitute ‘extraordinary circumstances’ under Article 5(3) of Regulation No 261/2004. This reference for a final ruling related to the interpretation of Article 5(3) of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 in the national proceeding between Mrs Wallentin-Hermann and Alitalia – Linee Aree Italiane SpA (‘Alitalia’) due to the refusal to pay compensation to the applicant (Wallentin-Hermann case - C‑549/07 ). Pursuant to that regulation passengers concerned shall, in the case of cancellation of a flight, have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier, unless the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances. The case is C-549/07 Friederike Wallentin-Hermann v Alitalia.

There is also a compensation on US airlines.

International flight departing from the U.S.:

You’ll receive 200% of the one-way fare, up to $650 if you arrive one to four hours after your scheduled arrival time; if you arrive more than four hours later than your scheduled arrival time you’re entitled to 400% of the one-way fare, up to $1300.

united airlines and he was travelling to india. ?

People from india should never fly on US Airlines, tyey should fly India Air!

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This is only relevant if the flight was via Europe. There are no flights from the US to India on United airlines that go via Europe. It's possible a codeshare flight was involved, but it seems more likely that it was a direct United flight. –  Doc Jan 12 at 17:02
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