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A few weeks ago I submitted an EU261 claim for our canceled KLM flights out of SFO (SEE: Submitting an EU261 claim that could net me $1,500). We were supposed to connect in Amsterdam on our way to Paris after spending 10 hours on KLM’s 747. But it wasn’t meant to be. Delta got us rebooked via Seattle on a flight several hours earlier.

Since I didn’t want to deal with any drama from the EU261 claim, I decided to use a service. It was super easy to submit, and it took the legwork . I’ve had a few comments, though, that submitting a claim on your own really *isn’t* that hard, and it would have put more money in my pocket. Live and learn. I’ll probably try it that way next time.

Claim is approved! But wait…

I received a message a few days ago that my claim was approved! But included was a note that the amount had been reduced by 50%. This was perplexing, and seemed rather shady at first glance. There was a reference to a section of the regulations included. I decided to go look them up.

Sure enough, there is a provision that if you are rebooked and do not arrive more than X hours late to your destination, the airline can reduce the compensation amount by 50%. Here is the text of Article 7.2:

“When passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination on an alternative flight pursuant to Article 8, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked:

  1. By two hours, in respect of all flights of 1500 kilometres or less; or
  2. By three hours, in respect of all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres; or
  3. By four hours, in respect of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),

the operating air carrier may reduce the compensation provided for in paragraph 1 by 50%.”

It’s a bummer to receive half of what I expected, but honestly, this make a whole lot of sense. Since we were re-accommodated on an earlier flight, none of our other travel reservations were affected and we didn’t lose any time on our trip. Sure, we missed a lounge visit and a ride on a 747 (which we were looking forward to) and lost some sleep. But that’s not as big of a deal to me as losing a night at a hotel and a day of our already short trip to Europe.

Conclusion

This claim process has taught me a few things and has been a learning experience. First, submitting a claim through a service is super easy, and it saves any potential headache from the get-go. But you do sacrifice some of the reimbursement. If this even happens again, however, I’ll probably try the claim myself first, and only call in the “big guns” if there is any resistance from the airline.

Featured image courtesy of BriYYZ under CC 2.0 license

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