The new PPI? Reclaiming money for flight delays

Some people's reaction to getting PPI calls isn't too dissimilar to this. Image credit: Kelvin Jaako/Flickr

Some people's reaction to getting PPI calls isn't too dissimilar to this. Image credit: Kelvin Jaako/Flickr

We’ve all been there before. The acronym for those three words is enough to make people shudder with fury.

“You may have been missold payment protection insurance on your loans, credit cards and mortgage.”

Sound familiar?

Yes, of course, PPI – the infamous insurance policy that was widely missold by lenders over 10 years ago and, more recently, a reclamation project for high commission-charging companies, using deception themselves in order to gain custom.

Using unsolicited phone calls as their main pathway to the market, the self-proclaimed ‘reclaim experts’ make it seem as though going through the process on your own can create problems. In actuality, it’s pretty simple and costs nothing, according to Which’s simple steps.

I’ll admit that I worked in a PPI reclaim call centre myself at the end of my first year of university because I needed an extra bit of cash. I hated it, and it was just as embarrassing for me as it was frustrating for the people on the other end of the line.

I wore one of those headsets, whilst failing to ship out many application packs. Suffice to say I was met with little to no enthusiasm on pretty much every call I made.

But could a similar venture be taking off for flight delays, and is that necessarily a bad thing?

What is it?

Two of the biggest reclaim websites are Flight-Delayed.co.uk, and FlightDelays .co.uk. Essentially, they do what they say on the tin and attempt to reclaim compensation for claimants if they have had a delayed or disrupted flight dating back to 2005.

According to EU rule 261/2004, you are often entitled to between £90 and £420 in compensation, although both of the websites mentioned above claim to have a maximum of greater than that.

The application process seems straightforward and, according to FlightDelays.co.uk, they have so far managed to get back over £5.8 million for their claimants. Not a bad record at all.

If only this was around back in 2004, when we went on a family holiday to Turkey, and had to endure 12 hour flight delays at each end. Sadly, my Dad couldn’t get any compensation from Thomas Cook, who didn’t seem to think that losing a day’s holiday was worth any sort of recompense.

What’s the catch?

Like any similar kind of business, these websites charge some level of commission – otherwise they’d make no profit.

FlightDelays.co.uk’s maximum charge is 29 percent of the claim, plus a further £25 and value added tax (VAT).

While Flight-Delayed.co.uk are slightly better value, and will invoice you for 25% of any successful claim, and includes all legal costs incurred.

So even if you do win, the successful claim will already be marked down by at least a quarter – which can be a lot of money.

Of course there are other websites that offer the same service, and you should be able to find them through any good search engine.

How can I do it?

Flight-Delayed.co.uk and FlightDelays.co.uk have similar claim applications, requiring simple personal details such as name, date of birth, email address and phone number, then details of delay and flight, as detailed below.

It’s a pretty straightforward process, and the more information you can provide, the better.

Claims can be made for both flight delays and cancellations, denied boarding, re-routed flights and overbooked flights, too – so they cover a wide base which should mean having a large appeal.

If all of the relevant details are to hand, it should only take about five minutes to submit a claim.

FlightDelays.co.uk “have settled claims in as little as four weeks, but each claim circumstance is different and subject to certain events,” according to their website.

Both companies have a 98 percent success rate, so if the criteria are met there’s a good chance that there will be some compensation waiting at the end of it all.

The full amount of compensation is then paid back to the customer, before they are billed for commission.

Can compensation for flight delays be done independently?

Yes, they can.

Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert website has its own free online reclaim tool, including written templates to assist in making a claim.

Obviously it takes a lot of work and some research, and not every claim is successful. But if you can afford to invest some time and effort, then 100 percent of the compensation goes directly to you, and involves forking out a lump sum to somebody else at the end of it.

I actually pursued a compensation claim myself this year, after a lack of security at a replacement hotel in Ayia Napa led to money being stolen from at least two of my friends.

I got in contact with the travel operator, Thomas Cook, directly, and ended up getting 10 £60 vouchers, working out at one for each member of our travel party.

But if peace of mind and an easy process is what you seek, and you feel that the fee is justified, then going to the flight delay reclaim companies is the way to go.