Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Best Practices for Filing EU 261 Claims Against United?

Best Practices for Filing EU 261 Claims Against United?

    Hide Wikipost
Old Oct 10, 18, 10:25 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: IBobi
Wiki Link
This information is created according to Regulation EC 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union.

Link to Regulation: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.ht...C_1&format=PDF

It applies to flights departing from an airport in the EU (and Norway) and flights operated by an EU-based air carrier departing from an airport in a third country to an airport in the EU.

If you have booked several connecting flights as one single journey – that means within the same booking – the distance is from the start to the last destination indicated on your ticket where the delay or cancellation has time-related consequences for you. If you are travelling on several separate tickets, which have been booked individually, these rules apply only up until the final destination of each ticket.

All of the following conditions must apply to the situations referred to below:
  • <Airline> must be the operating carrier of the flight.
  • You must have a confirmed reservation on a flight we operate.
  • You must be fully checked-in at the time indicated or, if no time is indicated, not later than 45 minutes before the time of departure.
  • You must be travelling on a fare available directly or indirectly to the public, or on a ticket issued under a frequent flyer program.
1. In the event of a delay as listed below...
a) If the flight is delayed for two hours or more in the case or flights of 1,500 kilometers or less.

b) If the flight is delayed for three hours or more in the case of intra-EU flights of more than 1,500 kilometers.

c) If the flight is delayed for three hours or more in the case of other flights between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers.

d) If the flight is delayed for four hours or more in the case of all flights not falling under a), b) and c).

...then operating carrier must provide the following assistance free of charge:

Meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time

Two telephone calls or e-mails

Hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and place of accommodation (These are offered if you must wait at least one night after the scheduled time of departure and are subject to local availability.)

Reimbursement of tickets (If the delay is at least five hours and you decide not to travel, reimbursement within seven days of the cost of your ticket for the part or parts of the journey not made. One is also reimbursed for the part or parts of your journey already made that no longer serve any purpose in relation to your original travel plan. When relevant, the airline can also provide reimbursement for a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity.)

Compensation in case of delays of 3 hours or more (see section below)
2. In the event of a cancelled flight you can choose the following:
Canceling the journey and receiving reimbursement for tickets (The operating carrier must provide reimbursement within seven days of the full cost of the ticket for the part or parts of the journey not made. They must also reimburse you for the part or parts of your journey already made that no longer serve any purpose in relation to your original travel plan. When relevant, they can also provide reimbursement for a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest opportunity.)

Re-routed, under comparable transport conditions, to your final destination (The operating carrier can offer to reroute to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date that suits you, depending on seat availability.)

Meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time

Two telephone calls or e-mails

Hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and place of accommodation (These are offered if you must wait at least one night after the scheduled time of departure and are subject to local availability.)

Compensation in case of cancellations and delays of 3 hours or more:
  • €250* for all flights less than 1,500km
  • €400* for all intra-EU flights more than 1,500km
  • €400* for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500km
  • €600* for all flights not falling under the conditions as listed above

*The compensation described above is sometimes reduced by ½ in court if the following conditions are met:
  • If you arrive within two (2) hours after your original arrival time for flights 1,500km or less then €125.is due
  • If you arrive within three (3) hours after your original arrival time for intra-EU flights greater than 1,500km then €200 is due.
  • If you arrive within three (3) hours after your original arrival time for all other flights between 1,500km - 3,500km then €200 is due.
  • If you arrive within four (4) hours after your original arrival time for all other flights not listed above then €300 is due.
3. You are not entitled to compensation in the following situations:
If the cancellation or delay of 3 hours or more is caused by extraordinary circumstances such as:
  • extraordinary meteorological conditions
  • security risks
  • strikes affecting operations
  • political instability
ONLY if the airline can prove in court that there was no way to prevent the delay - which is very hard to do for the airline.
Delays of the INCOMING aircraft for ANY reason NEVER qualify as an exemption for compensation as per EU court rulings.

If you are informed of the cancellation at least 14 days before the time of departure

If you are informed of the cancellation between 7 and 14 days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing to your final destination, allowing you to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach your final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival.

If you are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing to your final destination, allowing you to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach your final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.

Frequently Asked Questions
If I receive & take UA's "standard" delay compensation -- a choice of miles or ETC -- does this make me ineligible for EU261 compensation?

Generally no
Print Wikipost

Reply

Old Nov 4, 12, 8:35 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: DCA
Programs: UA Gold, Ritz Carlton Gold, Fairmont Platinum, Starwood Gold, AA Exec Plat
Posts: 103
Best Practices for Filing EU 261 Claims Against United?

Hi, all!

I've been combing through the threads to find advice on filing an EU 261 claim. I thought it might be helpful if we threw out some general principles that are helpful in doing so successfully (as opposed to combing through the huge 'what were you compensated for and how much did you get thread).

I saw a really good note on sticking to the facts as opposed to resorting to inflammatory language.

I also saw a note on not writing an email as opposed to a snail mail letter (although I wonder if that point is debatable).

Do people have ideas on how long to wait after first submitting a claim? Whether to follow up by phone or email? The escalation steps one should take if the email is ignored?

Does anyone have an idea of how long I should wait between attempts to contact United? The last email I sent to the general email address regarding my particular delay was about a month and a half ago.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; May 7, 13 at 2:23 pm
PandaPal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 12, 8:44 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Dubai / NYC
Programs: EK-IO, UA-1K2MM, ETIHAD-GOLD, SPG-PLAT LIFETIME, JUMEIRAH SERIUS GOLD
Posts: 5,220
I would not count in getting much of an answer if it's already been 6 weeks. If you requested some kind of compensation instead if an apology & they still have not answered you can assume they denied your request. Try writing them again

What exactly happened & what did your letter ask for?
chinatraderjmr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 12, 4:08 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: DCA
Programs: UA Gold, Ritz Carlton Gold, Fairmont Platinum, Starwood Gold, AA Exec Plat
Posts: 103
Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
I would not count in getting much of an answer if it's already been 6 weeks. If you requested some kind of compensation instead if an apology & they still have not answered you can assume they denied your request. Try writing them again

What exactly happened & what did your letter ask for?
I was flying from GVA to IAD and they delayed my flight for 10 hours before cancelling it due to a mechanical problem with the hydraulics. Based on what I've read in EU 261, I was due 600 euros compensation which I am now trying to collect.
PandaPal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 12, 5:11 pm
  #4  
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 9,472
Originally Posted by PandaPal View Post
I was flying from GVA to IAD and they delayed my flight for 10 hours before cancelling it due to a mechanical problem with the hydraulics. Based on what I've read in EU 261, I was due 600 euros compensation which I am now trying to collect.
Sounds like you got a case there. Did UA offer any comp at all?
Maybe you have to file it with a UA office in the EU ?
cesco.g is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 12, 5:23 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Francisco/Sydney
Programs: UA 1K/MM, TK Elite, DL Gold, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Gold, Hertz PC, Avis First
Posts: 6,582
Originally Posted by PandaPal View Post
I was flying from GVA to IAD and they delayed my flight for 10 hours before cancelling it due to a mechanical problem with the hydraulics. Based on what I've read in EU 261, I was due 600 euros compensation which I am now trying to collect.
If only it were that simple...

UA will almost certainly deny your claim, based on the "safety issue" that the mechanical problem presented.

If you push hard enough you'll probably get a customer service voucher or two, probably in the few hundred dollar range - but your odds of getting the 600 Euros that EU 261 states is almost zero.

There are multiple other threads here and elsewhere on the internet covering peoples attempts to get EU compensation out of UA, and with very, very few exceptions they end with failure - at least when it's an MX issue like this was.
docbert is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 6:40 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: DCA
Programs: UA Gold, Ritz Carlton Gold, Fairmont Platinum, Starwood Gold, AA Exec Plat
Posts: 103
What strange timing. After waiting for a month +, I just got a letter in the mail this evening from United saying that EU 261 compensation isn't applicable in this case (although they don't say why), but that they would give me a $500 voucher for future travel anyway.

So now, I wonder if I should keep pressing or just take the voucher.
PandaPal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 8:35 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: BWI, PHL, IAD
Programs: Marriott LT Titanium, Mileage Plus Plat, Global Entry
Posts: 1,401
Originally Posted by PandaPal View Post
What strange timing. After waiting for a month +, I just got a letter in the mail this evening from United saying that EU 261 compensation isn't applicable in this case (although they don't say why), but that they would give me a $500 voucher for future travel anyway.

So now, I wonder if I should keep pressing or just take the voucher.
I went back and forth with United over a cancelled flight from Europe a couple of years ago. While I did get a voucher, I was never able to get the 600 euros. UA claimed that at a US citizen I was not eligible for it. They said it only applied to EU citizens.
Michilander is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 9:26 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.8MM, Marriott PLT, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 9,221
Originally Posted by PandaPal View Post
So now, I wonder if I should keep pressing or just take the voucher.
It is a matter of your right, rather than a goodwill gesture.

If I were you, enough talk and I will simply file a complaint with the Swiss and cc them a copy (which I mean BUSINESS).

Originally Posted by Michilander View Post
UA claimed that at a US citizen I was not eligible for it. They said it only applied to EU citizens.
Nice try...United...can they claim that tarmac rule only apply to U.S. citizens only?
garykung is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 9:42 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 92
Everything I've seen suggests that you're unlikely to get cash unless you're genuinely willing to sue them in a court in the country the flight originated from.
quasihumanist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 11:21 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Växjö, SE/Washington, DC
Programs: AA ExPlat, UA 1K (2MM)
Posts: 1,155
Reaffirmed ruling

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/tr...urt-rules.html

Mechanicals just don't count, and therefore, require payment:

"The ruling by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said passengers who reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time can claim fixed compensation from the airline, unless the delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances” such as a strike or bad weather.
Mechanical problems with an aeroplane do not constitute extraordinary circumstances, the court ruled.

...The ruling confirms a 2009 verdict by the court, which said that under EU law passengers whose flights are delayed have the same rights to compensation as passengers whose fights are cancelled."
zabes64 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 11:35 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: What I write is my opinion alone..don't read into it anything not written.
Posts: 9,555
Originally Posted by zabes64 View Post
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/tr...urt-rules.html

Mechanicals just don't count, and therefore, require payment:

"The ruling by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said passengers who reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time can claim fixed compensation from the airline, unless the delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances” such as a strike or bad weather.
Mechanical problems with an aeroplane do not constitute extraordinary circumstances, the court ruled.

...The ruling confirms a 2009 verdict by the court, which said that under EU law passengers whose flights are delayed have the same rights to compensation as passengers whose fights are cancelled."
If you notice, the part in the article that mechanicals don't constitute an extraordinary circumstance, the article does not use quotes, meaning that is an interpretation by the author, where later on, the article does actually quote the court said that extraordinary circumstances were those “which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of the air carrier”.


So, the court, at least per this article, doesnt look like it made a definitive ruling that no mechanicals were ever outside the control by "reasonable measures" of an air carrier, but the author of the pieceis stating that in his opinion that at least some (but not defined as all or any) may not fall under that.

The case tested if delayed was the same as cncld, not if a, some, or all mechanicals are subject to, or exempt from the penalties. Don't read into the court rulling what isn't presented as part of the ruling in an article not issued by the court, nor quoted of the court.
fastair is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 11:42 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Växjö, SE/Washington, DC
Programs: AA ExPlat, UA 1K (2MM)
Posts: 1,155
Originally Posted by fastair View Post
If you notice, the part in the article that mechanicals don't constitute an extraordinary circumstance, the article does not use quotes, meaning that is an interpretation by the author, where later on, the article does actually quote the court said that extraordinary circumstances were those “which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of the air carrier”.


So, the court, at least per this article, doesnt look like it made a definitive ruling that no mechanicals were ever outside the control by "reasonable measures" of an air carrier, but the author of the pieceis stating that in his opinion that at least some (but not defined as all or any) may not fall under that.

The case tested if delayed was the same as cncld, not if a, some, or all mechanicals are subject to, or exempt from the penalties. Don't read into the court rulling what isn't presented as part of the ruling in an article not issued by the court, nor quoted of the court.
Here, this one is a bit clearer for people: http://www.saga.co.uk/insurance/trav...eu-ruling.aspx

"The European Court of Justice has upheld a decision made earlier this year, that entitled passengers to financial compensation, unless the delay was caused by 'extraordinary circumstances'.

The ruling also confirmed that mechanical problems do not fall in to that category."

Here is the ruling which basically says in most cases, mechanicals are not extraordinary circumstances:
http://passagerrettigheder.dk/EU_COU..._December_2008

Last edited by zabes64; Nov 5, 12 at 11:46 pm Reason: added last link
zabes64 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 5, 12, 11:49 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Programs: UA Premier Gold 0.5 MM; BA Silver
Posts: 1,019
Originally Posted by fastair View Post
If you notice, the part in the article that mechanicals don't constitute an extraordinary circumstance, the article does not use quotes, meaning that is an interpretation by the author, where later on, the article does actually quote the court said that extraordinary circumstances were those “which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, namely circumstances beyond the actual control of the air carrier”.
I believe I have even read cases where people have "won" against airlines that have used this defense. I count winning as getting the $$$ as a gesture not necessarily official EU comp.

I cannot recall for sure, but IIRC there was an instance where an airline knew of a mechanical error or wear issue, which is not an immediate safety issue, but deferred maintenance ("wrote it up") or whatever you want to call it, and then this became the cause of a mechanical delay. I believe they did pay up the equivalent EU $$$ as a "gesture" in the end. IIRC it was something to do with cracks in fan blades?

So I think it can happen. If the airline can see a repair coming and put it off then "all reasonable measures" have hardly been taken to fix the problem.
gbsfo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 12, 12:44 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: LHR
Programs: UA 1K, BAEC Bronze, SPG, HI
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by PandaPal View Post
What strange timing. After waiting for a month +, I just got a letter in the mail this evening from United saying that EU 261 compensation isn't applicable in this case (although they don't say why), but that they would give me a $500 voucher for future travel anyway.

So now, I wonder if I should keep pressing or just take the voucher.
Well they are right since Reg 261/04 only applies to itineraries originating in the EU and Geneva isn't.
whatever809 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 12, 1:34 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: ATL/LAX
Posts: 4,867
Originally Posted by PandaPal View Post
What strange timing. After waiting for a month +, I just got a letter in the mail this evening from United saying that EU 261 compensation isn't applicable in this case (although they don't say why), but that they would give me a $500 voucher for future travel anyway.

So now, I wonder if I should keep pressing or just take the voucher.
GVA to IAD, and so you're not departing a EU country. Too bad, EU 261 wasn't applicable.
amolkold is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread