I was hoping someone could help please?- Basically I flew from the states to the UK and one of my flights was cancelled and delayed and my airline provided no compensation to me while others were given some compensation.

I had a flight from Chicago to Newark- I got to Newark at 12:30 am so I had to wait 8 hours for my flight to London Heathrow, which I was fine with since I paid for that ticket. Albeit, when I got onto my 8:30 am flight, it was first delayed for about 3 hours and was then cancelled- we were told there would be another flight leaving at 7:30pm so we would have to wait.

We were also informed to go to the customer service desk, people were given food vouchers, I was speaking to some people who had just got there an hour before the flight and they even received $60 and a hotel. However when I informed the customer service team that I had already been there for 8 hours, they only offered me $20 worth of food vouchers- while others were given $60 and a hotel.

We ended up being boarded onto the plane at 8:30 pm even though we were supposed to leave at 7:30 pm and then we were delayed again and finally took off at around 11:30 pm. The reasons for all the delays were due to issues with the plane's brakes.

They have provided me with no compensation, I went on their website (united cares- united airlines) and filled out a form- almost 2 weeks later I have received no response.

Is there anything I can do? I just feel it's unfair that I was practically in the airport 23 hours- while others who were only there for an hour or two were actually compensated.

  • 2
    why did you roll back my edit? Your title should be a question, not just a vague statement of topic area. You are also using up "preview" space for people on the main page - always start with a sentence that will make people want to read the question Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 16:45
  • I felt there was nothing wrong with the way I posted the topic- there are many other topics on this site which have been posted in the same manner. I found it pretentious of you to feel you had to capitalise parts of what I had posted- it was fine the way it was, and I am sure everyone understood. There was no need to appear on the topic if you weren't going to provide an answer.
    – Polyscript
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 18:03
  • 1
    That's not how StackExchange works. I made your title into your question, so that people who could help you would see it and know they could help you. I made sure the "preview" was packed with information to inspire them to click on it. And then, because once you start editing you should do it all, I neatened up a few things. It's not "pretentious." And it's not a "topic" it's a question. On this site, editing when you don't intend to answer is a normal helpful thing to do. Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 1:07

3 Answers 3


Officially, you are not due any compensation. The US does not have rules around compensation for such events, and as you were flying a US-based airline TO the EU, then European Union laws do not apply.

Unofficially, UA generally does provide compensation in cases like this.

Firstly, I would suggest NOT referring to the '23 hours'. That was YOUR choice to book such a connection, and not in any way the fault of the airline. What matters is the length of your delay, which was seemingly 15 hours.

As this was a delay through the day, United would NOT normally offer hotels in such a situation, however it is very possible that they did to their Business/First class passengers, as well as their very frequent flyers - I'm guessing you were neither of those.

United's standard "meal voucher" is $20. For a delay that long I would have expected them to give you at least 2 vouchers, but again they have no legal requirement to do so.

United WILL give compensation in a case like this IF the delay was caused by an issue with their aircraft (as opposed to weather/etc). Normally this will be done automatically via their customer care website - I would suggest trying that again and making sure you enter the correct details for the flight, at which point it should immediately offer you a (probably fairly small) number of Frequent Flyer miles or a compensation voucher.

If that doesn't work, email the united customer care email address (on the back of your Mileage Plus card if you're a United frequent flyer member, or otherwise Google will find it for you) and raise the issue. They may take a week or so to get back to you, but they will offer you compensation of some form.

  • Thank you for your reply, I called and was told that I should receive a reply within 21 working days. Unfortunately I am not a Frequent Flyer program with them so I am unsure how they would actually compensate.
    – Polyscript
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 18:06
  • @Polyscript as you mentioned that the delay was due to issues with brakes, here there is a possibility that you will get compensation since its a technical issue which is for sure fault of the airline. You can read about your air passenger rights here: claimflights.com/Air-passenger-rights-tarmac-delay-rule , it will give you clear idea under which circumstances you can claim compensation from airlines. Commented May 7, 2018 at 7:11

Contrary to (for instance) flights originating in the EU or operated by a EU airline, flights from the US operated by a US carrier have very little protection, and definitely no automatic compensation by law or regulation. Other than indemnification of damages as protected by the Montreal Convention, it's mostly up to each carrier to decide how they want to compensate you (or at all), and how they want to take care of you (if there had been an overnight delay the situation would have been different).

It is perfectly possible they could have different compensation policies based on:

  • the cabin travelled in (first / business / coach...)
  • the fare class (a full non discounted fare vs a highly discounted fare)
  • the fare rules (if the ticket is refundable, they have an incentive to take care of you to avoid cancellation)
  • the frequent flyer status
  • the perceived "fragility" of the passenger (elderly, sick...).
  • and of course the human factor (a smile can go a long way).

I believe it's unusual under normal circumstances for a hotel to be provided for a day-time delay, but they could do it for high-value passengers.

Unless you know the specific circumstances of each passenger, it's difficult to compare what kind of compensation or service you were offered.

On the other hand, if you can actually justify damage, you may be eligible for compensation under the Montreal Convention, though this is often a complex endeavour, and quite limited in scope.

  • Thank you for your reply- I think I will avoid the compensation under that convention, it does sound time consuming and confusing.
    – Polyscript
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 18:08

You can claim compensation in US too. US Tarmac delay rule specifies US air passenger rights which addresses the problem of passengers being stranded on the ground of aircraft, denied boarding, flight delays or missed flight connections.

The rule states that, airlines are not allowed to wait for more than four hours on international flights or over three hours on domestic flights and also protects air travelers against involuntarily denied boarding. Here you can find all the information http://www.dot.gov/airconsumer/flight-delays.

Hence according to the rule, UA should compensate you for your delayed flight. United Airlines has a bad reputation for delaying and denying passengers to board the aircraft. In fact, every airline does not provide passengers with compensation and would try to lure the passengers with coupons or vouchers.

In order to claim compensation, you can directly contact the airline via email or customer support (that you have already done, but there's no response), so you can contact any online claiming company which can help you with getting your compensation without any hassle or alternatively you can hire flight claim lawyer.

  • The 3-4 hour rule you mention is only for Tarmac Delays, which is when the passengers are already on the plane. It doesn't apply to Flight Delays when the passengers are still in the airport. See these explanations from the US Department of Transportation: Tarmac Delays ... Flight Delays & Cancellations
    – krubo
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 16:10

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