Will You Be Stranded These Holidays at the Airport?
Which airlines leave the most passengers stranded on the ground? The world’s leading advocate for air passengers, AirHelp, investigated this topic and analyzed all flight cancellations of the largest airlines in the United States between January 1, 2019 and November 30, 2019.
According to AirHelp’s analysis, a stunning number of passengers experienced a flight cancellation during this period. At American Airlines alone, more than 4,500,000 people were affected by flight cancellations this year. Southwest Airlines also kept many passengers on the ground in 2019: more than 3,630,000 in total. United Airlines lands in third place with approximately 2,200,000 passengers affected.
These are passenger’s rights
Christian Nielsen, Chief Legal Officer at AirHelp, explains what passengers need to know when faced with a cancellation: “Already, more than 13.5 million passengers in the United States were affected by a flight cancellation in 2019, and there will definitely be more cancellations throughout the U.S. this winter.
A canceled flight can quickly ruin a whole trip - especially if affected passengers are informed about a flight problem too late and are left without options to re-book their trip. Passengers on flights that took off in Europe on any airline, or that landed in the EU on an airline that is headquartered in the EU, are protected by the EU law EC 261 that covers passengers in the event of cancellations. Passengers who are not on a European flight may still consider checking their compensation eligibility under a separate law, the Montreal Convention.
Under the Montreal Convention, a regulation ratified by more than 120 nations, airline passengers have certain rights to compensation on international flights between participating countries for flight disruptions. If travelers miss a prepaid reservation, have to pay for an extra night at a hotel, or rack up any other unforeseen expenses due to air travel problems, they can get reimbursed as long as the disruption was not caused by extraordinary circumstances and they can prove their expenses. In order to receive compensation, travelers must prove that they suffered damages, as being late is not enough to warrant compensation.
AirHelp advises travelers to claim all possible compensation from the airlines and have successfully assisted passengers with understanding their rights and claiming the money they are owed for more than six years. If necessary, we also go to court on behalf of consumers.”
Flight cancellations and delays may entitle passengers to compensation of up to $700 per passenger under EC261: the amount of compensation is calculated based on the distance traveled. Eligibility for compensation depends on the actual length of a traveler’s delay and the reason for the canceled or delayed flight. Affected passengers can enforce their compensation claim retroactively for on average up to three years after their flight date.
For cancellations caused by extraordinary circumstances such as severe weather or medical emergencies, the operating airline may be exempt from owing compensation.
AirHelp is the world’s largest organization specializing in air passenger rights. The organization helps travelers get compensation for delayed or canceled flights and in instances of denied boarding. The company also takes legal and political action to support the growth and enforcement of air passenger rights worldwide. AirHelp has aided more than 16 million people, is available in 35 countries and has more than 750 employees.