Chaos at Schiphol is a gold mine for demanding clubs

AP

  • Floor Ligtvoet

    editor Nieuwsuur

  • Floor Ligtvoet

    editor Nieuwsuur

Crowds at airports are of course very annoying for travelers, but claim that clubs benefit from it. Companies such as EUclaim, Vlucht-verraagd.nl and Aviclaim are experiencing significant growth in the number of travelers claiming money back from an airline through them.

Since the beginning of April, the three agencies have accepted more than 38 million euros in claims from passengers due to a delayed or canceled flight, they say. news hour know.

If you yourself do not have your staff in order, you cannot claim force majeure.

Paul Vaneker, EU claim

Flight-delayed.nl will submit almost 70,000 claims worth 23 million euros to airlines. This is more than twice as many as in the same months in 2019. The agency mainly received claims for KLM, Transavia and Easyjet.

EUclaim is requesting 10 million euros in compensation from airlines and 1 million euros for refunds on canceled flights. Aviclaim involves a total of 4.5 million euros.

These are busy and golden times, admits Tom van Bokhoven from Vlucht-verraagd.nl when asked. “But I didn’t really expect it to go so wrong at the airport.”

Damages company gets at least quarter

When an airline pays out a claim, the claims company involved receives a large percentage. Its height varies between 25 percent and 29 percent. Sometimes the companies also charge extra for administration costs or when the claim has to be fought in court. If the airline does not pay anything or the case is lost, the claims office receives nothing either. EUclaim says that 97 percent of claims are successful.

Often travelers turn to a claims agency because they are tired of waiting endlessly with the airline in the hope of getting what they are entitled to under EU rules. Sometimes travelers request a refund of the ticket amount in case of a canceled flight. But much more often travelers want to be compensated through the agencies for time lost due to the delay or cancellation and for the additional costs incurred.

Airlines are required to reasonably reimburse the additional costs incurred by travelers, such as hotel accommodation, food and beverages. Unless there is a force majeure situation.

The power of the majority?

The experience with EU claims is that legal action is needed in every third claim to force the airlines to pay. Flight-delayed.nl expects to have to sue the airline in at least 15 percent of the current cases.

EUclaim takes most of the legal steps against southern European airlines such as Vueling, TAP Air Portugal and the low-cost airline Ryanair. In such a case, for example, society is convinced that there is force majeure and that it therefore does not have to pay, says Paul Vaneker from EUclaim. “Or they find, for example, the extra costs incurred by a passenger to be unreasonable or not necessary.”

However, airlines cannot automatically talk about an emergency with the current chaos at Schiphol, says Vaneker. “They also suffer from staff shortages themselves. If you don’t have your employees in order yourself, then it simply belongs to your company. Then you can’t claim force majeure.”

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