If you have checked your rights and are sure you are entitled to receive a payment from your airline following a problem with a flight, it’s important to make your case effectively.
- The airline will use the information you provide to help judge if your case is valid. It helps to provide as much detail as possible.
- If anything goes wrong with your claim, it’s useful to have a record of your communications. Keep a copy of everything you send.
Use your airline’s preferred method
Many airlines have a standard procedure for dealing with claims. If so, use it. You might have to send a letter to a particular address or fill in a standard claim form. Check the airline’s website for instructions, or call them to find out what to do.
Some airlines now have a clause in their T&Cs stating that when lodging a claim, passengers must first contact directly the airline, allowing the airline to respond directly to them before engaging third parties to claim on their behalf.
If no standard procedure is available, it may be quickest to make initial contact by email. You can also send a letter.
Set out your case well
When you first contact your airline, aim to set out your case clearly and concisely. Explain what happened and when, and why you feel you are entitled to receive a payment.
Be particularly clear about what you want. State exactly what compensation and expenses you are claiming. You can learn more about your rights by accessing the dedicated pages through the following links
Send your claim to the airline’s customer relations department. You can escalate your complaint if you don’t get the result you hoped for.
Include all relevant information
Give the airline as much information as possible. Try to include:
- Your full contact details – including address, email and phone number
- Full details of all passengers – including names and addresses
- Your booking reference and travel dates
- The flight number, departure and destination airports
- Details of where the disruption occurred
- Information about the length of delays
- The names of any staff you spoke to
You should also send as many supporting documents and as much evidence as you can. This might include:
- Copies of all relevant receipts, if you are claiming expenses
- Copies of all tickets, boarding cards and booking confirmations
Providing evidence to an airline that you were on a flight
We believe that passengers are able to demonstrate that they were on a delayed or cancelled flight in a number of ways. If you no longer have the tickets, It may be that you have bank or credit card statements to support your claim.
It could also be that you have other evidence that helps support your claim like:
- emails from the airline
- luggage tags
- receipts from the airport
- phone records
- or passport stamps
The airline should then use the information provided by you to check against their own records. If you have no evidence at all to demonstrate that you were on a flight, and the airline refuses to handle your complaint on that basis, you are able to make a subject access request (a request for personal information held about you by a business) under the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 ("GDPR"). A copy of your personal data should be provided free, however airlines may charge for additional copies. You should provide the airline with some information so that they can find your records. This should be at a minimum the date of your flight, the departure and arrival airports and the passenger name/s.
Help with preparing and managing your complaint
We recommend that consumers should complain directly to the airline or airport concerned. There are also several tools and resources are available to help guide you through the complaints process.
Here are two examples:
Resolver is a free and independent tool that can be used across several sectors including transport, energy and public services. Please note that not all airlines or airports accept complaints made through Resolver.
You can use this service for:
- guidance on your rights
- help with preparing emails
- storing all your important documents in a secure case file
- information on when to escalate your complaint
The guidance published by Which? explains:
- the rules on flight delays and compensation
- how to challenge extraordinary circumstances
- how to appeal a decision
You can also enter your travel details into a flight delay compensation tool that creates a compensation claim letter for you to send to the airline.
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