Last year I had a flight with a Portuguese company which was delayed for one and a half day. At first they provided proper accommodation and I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. The second day however, I felt like being lied to constantly, due to frequent changing excuses for the delay. From technical issue to weather issues, back to technical issues. It was here where I decided to test the EU regulations for compensation after delay.
At first I tried EU Claim. They stated that they work on a no cure no pay base. But after filling in the details I got the message that although I was eligible for compensation they would not be able to help me since they have power over Portugal.
I then resorted to a company called "Vluchtvertraagd.nl" (Dutch for "Flight delayed"). They offer a very nice service where all the letters you are supposed to sent, are generated according to templates provided to you through a time line. I am impressed by their system. It all looks nice. You pay a fee for around 25 euro's for their service.
So far I have been following their suggestions and sent the needed letters to either the airline or the authorities.
I am now 6 months in their system and I am receiving the usual denial of responsibility letters from the airlines. So far so good.
However, it suddenly struck me that it could be possible that this is a perfect way to earn quite some money. The systems seems to be fully automatic and they keep you in the loop for quite some time. They state in the beginning this process could take up to 9 months to get paid.
I am suddenly afraid that after nine months they will come up with some technicality that make me no longer eligible for this compensation. My usual respons would possibly be: "whatever" and I would count my losses being only 25 Euros.
But if this is an expectable outcome, the system of these companies is quite profitable. After nine month nobody will complain because they just lost 25 Euros. A lot of 25 euro's still makes quite some profit and all it takes is knowing the required letters to sent and you have an effective template driven automatic system.
That airlines are hesitant in paying is predictable. If you are confident that you are eligible for compensation according to EU laws does it make sense to rely on companies to do the administration for you for a fee, or does it still take a case in court to get compensated?