AirHelp to the Rescue

Let’s face it, airline travel gets less fun every year. Sure, airfares keep going down and that’s a plus for families watching the bottom line, but carriers are increasingly finding ways to make up for it by tacking on extra charges. Among the most the most annoying are hidden baggage check fees, which the Department of Transportation no longer requires airlines to disclose and costs associated with disrupted and canceled flights.

AirHelp, an air passenger rights organization, is on the case, compiling information on how to recoup lost fee revenue and lists of frequently disrupted flight routes.

For example, did you know that more than 584,000 U.S. passengers were affected by flight cancellations and severe delays of three hours or more in 2017 and that, according to AirHelp, passengers are eligible to claim more than $413,000,000 in compensation?

Over the holidays, more than half of San Francisco to Los Angeles flights were disrupted, followed closely by Las Vegas to Los Angeles; Los Angeles to Las Vegas; Seattle to Los Angeles; and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Overall, according to the 2017 AirHelp Score, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) ranked among the worst international airports for quality, service and the number of delayed flights.

London Stansted airport

© Claudiodivizia | Dreamstime.com

International travelers might be interested to know that, based on the percentage of disrupted international flights departing from airports around the United States, Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino Airport in Rome experienced the most flight disruptions, with London City Airport following closely behind.

Also surprising is airline passengers paid a record-breaking $1.2 billion in baggage fees in the last quarter of 2017, in some cases without realizing it.

“2017 has been an interesting year for air passenger travel, particularly in the U.S. with overbooked flights and cancellations making national headlines month after month,” said Henrik Zillmer, CEO, AirHelp.

What do you do if you are affected by disrupted flights or charged hidden fees?

“In the event of a delayed or cancelled flight, passengers may be legally entitled to receive up to $700 in compensation fees from airlines,” Zillmer said, adding fewer than 2 percent of travelers will actually file for compensation for the simple reason they don’t realize they can do so.

“We urge passengers who may have been affected by delays or cancellations this year to read up on their rights to ensure that they’re not missing out on the compensation that they’re legally entitled to,” he said.