I took a trip to Europe recently and, because I was there for a few weeks, I decided to hop around the region. It’s really cool to be able to visit a different country with a quick flight… but I did encounter one little glitch – my flight got cancelled! I’ll share what happened and how I was able to get a $400 compensation in the end.

My flight from Copenhagen to Zurich was cancelled and I was rescheduled to go on the next plane. Fortunately, I found out about the change the night before, so I didn’t waste my last few hours in Copenhagen waiting at the airport. Instead, I got to bike around the city and enjoyed a lunch by the lake. When I found out that my flight was cancelled, my family friend who lives in Copenhagen told me to look into the Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 which allows you to claim up to €600.

What is Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004?

According to the European Union website, EU air passenger rights apply:

  • If your flight is within the EU and is operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline
  • If your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If you have not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing, assistance from the airline) for flight related problems for this journey under the relevant law of a non-EU country.

Depending on what happened to you (cancelled or delayed flight, lost luggage or overbooked flight), there may be compensation and you can find out your rights through their website.

How to claim compensation

There are third-party claims management companies, but I submitted my claim to my airline directly. If you choose this route, here are some tips:

  • Have a good understanding of your rights. Go back to the European Union website and read through the regulation and FAQs.
  • Utilize the online forms or claim process (if available) or send them an email with all necessary information.
  • Describe what happened. A description of what happened, any accompanying documents such as barding passes or an email from the airline notifying you that the flight has been delayed or cancelled.
  • As any complaints or claims you make, keep copies of your records for proof.

After patiently waiting for two weeks, I heard back from my airline and $400 Canadian dollars was sent to my bank account! It was definitely worthwhile to spend a bit of time getting my documents together and go through the claim process.

Have you had a similar experience? Please share your story in comments!

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