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5 months ago, I flew from Moscow to London with a connection in Amsterdam. My flight was late by nearly 3 hours and my connection was missed. I was put into a hotel overnight and flew the next day. At that time no compensation was offered from the airline. The journey was booked with lastminute.com It was with KLM and the delay was the airlines fault.

A few days ago I received a legitimately-looking email saying that passengers could be entitled to compensation. The email:

From: "lastminute.com"

Hi [MY NAME],

Get compensation for your flight delay!

At lastminute.com, we want our customers to have the best travel experience possible, That’s why we were sorry to see that your flight from Moscow to Amsterdam on 25 February, 2019 may have been delayed.

Under EU Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, introduced to protect European passengers against lengthy delays and other travel disruptions, you could be entitled to as much as €400 in compensation.

You can either submit your claim directly to the airline, or get assistance from an external organization such as our partner AirHelp. AirHelp are the travel experts, making the process of gaining compensation for delayed, cancelled and overbooked flights simple and stress-free.

AirHelp doesn’t charge any service fees unless your claim is successful. Before using AirHelp’s service, we advise that you check the company’s terms, conditions and fees on their website www.airhelp.com.

[LINK TO CLAIM]

Is it a bit suspicious I was contacthed 5 months after the flight and is there a point making a claim 5 months after the delay?

  • They are obviosuly trying to sell assistance through their partner AirHelp, which you probably don't need if you are entitled to compensation. Wether you are entitled to further compensation or not depends on which airline you were flying with and the reason for the delay. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jul 12 at 15:31
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo The airline was KLM and it was the airlines fault – Daniil Manokhin Jul 12 at 15:32
  • If you are entitled to compensation, you should demand it from the airline. Have you done this? – David Jul 12 at 15:48
  • @David I have not done this due to the airline saying the delay is not longer than 3 hours so they won't consider it – Daniil Manokhin Jul 12 at 15:50
  • Well...was the delay more than 3 hours? – David Jul 12 at 15:52
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Since the flight was operated by KLM, the flight is covered by EU Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004. Relevant for the calculation of the compensation is your delay at the final airport. From what you write in the question and assuming that the delay was the airline's fault, you are entitled to a compensation of 400€. The distance from Moscow to London is about 2500km and the delay in London was obviously more than 3 hours, since you had to spend a night in Amsterdam.

You may do as lastminute.com is suggesting and mandate AirHelp to claim the compensation. AirHelp will charge at least 100€ for this service. You may also continue with the claim yourself, depending on where you live, perhaps get free help from public consumer protection organizations in the country you are living, go to any of the other AirHelp-like service providers or order a lawyer to present your case (which may actually be cheaper than using AirHelp or other service providers).

There is no period set in the EU regulation how long a claim is valid. Your claim will lapse just as any other civil claim based on the periods defined in national legislation. 5 months should in any European jurisdiction be with large margins within the limits.

  • 2
    Personal anecdote regarding the timing: I once started the claims process directly with the airline (TAP) shortly after arriving home after a cancelled flight (July 2017). They took months to get back to me (May 2018), but offered me either full compensation in cash, or an airline voucher worth 1.5x that. I wasn't sure which to take, and forgot about it. In March 2019 - 20 months after the flight - I remembered it and decided to ask for the money. I was worried it would be ignored, but they paid my account within a couple days. – knowah Jul 12 at 17:02
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IANAL/IANYL. That said, the ECJ (and some higher national courts) have recently been shedding light on how this directive is to be interpreted. As this question makes clear, it's time lost at final destination that determines eligibility for compensation. Since you missed your connection and were twelve hours late, you're entitled to compensation, assuming your flight is covered.

Note this directive cuts both ways: since the passenger in the linked question was severely delayed on his first leg but didn't miss his/her connection because of the long layover, (s)he was on time at the final destination, and thus isn't eligible for compensation.

As your flight was operated by KLM, a European operator, it's covered. In the UK you generally have six years to pursue breach-of-contract-type remedies, and I'd imagine other EU nations have comparable timescales for seeking this type of redress. I'd contact the airline and ask for compensation according to the directive. Be ready to use the court system if it proves necessary.

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