So, back in 2019 a friend and I flew on Vueling Airlines from Paris (ORY) to Barcelona (BCN). We were delayed a little over 3 hours, which I recall was the cutoff time back then for EU261 compensation. It seems now in 2023 for flights under 1,500 km, you’re supposed to get 250 EUR if you’re delayed by at least two hours. TL;DR- Vueling rejected my claim for compensation for my delayed flight (even though they shouldn’t have), so I went to AirHelp for assistance, they said I had a strong case and they said they have filed a lawsuit and our claim is in court. Oh, and it has been over 4 years in progress.
As of May 2023, the Vueling site states that:
The delay that entitles you to compensation is calculated according to the time of arrival at your destination. If you get to your destination 3 or more hours later than the scheduled time you are also entitled to request financial compensation, except if the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances like the weather. The compensation amount will vary according to how far your destination is: Up to 1500 km = 250 EUR.
It also adds “Request compensation easily through our website”.
So, I did! After the flight, I requested compensation but was denied as they said the delay was out of their control. I even replied with a screenshot showing the app explaining the delay was due to maintenance (which should be eligible for EU261) but they didn’t budge.
Where to go next? AirHelp!
After being rejected by Vueling, I went over to AirHelp! AirHelp says they:
We make claiming compensation straightforward for all passengers who are unsure of their rights, lack the time, or lack the expertise to embark on the claims process themselves. We stand up to airlines in court, and we campaign for national governments to introduce fair air travel rights. We’ve helped countless more through our fight for justice.
Sounds good to me! I filed a claim and within a week they said my claim looked strong and wanted all the documents for my flight (tickets, passports, etc).
Good news! Although the airline is not cooperating with us, your claim is still looking strong. We’ve been given the green light to move to the next stage with your claim for compensation for your Vueling Airlines flight. This means we are one step closer to getting you your money.
An additional week later, I got this message on April 30th, 2019:
Thanks for providing us with all of the information we asked for in support of your claim for compensation for your Vueling Airlines flight. You’ve done your hard work, and now it’s our turn. Our flight experts are ready to argue your case and convince the airline to pay you. We’ll be honest, this part can take a bit of time. But remember, you’re in very good hands. We win 95% of claims that reach this stage. So we’ve got a very good chance of winning with your claim.
May 2019 to March 2021:
Then, monthly they would send me a monthly status update, from May 2019 to February 2021. Each message was similar to:
“We know you’re still waiting patiently for some good news on your compensation claim…”
It made sense for the delay, with COVID and everything occurring in between these times. I sent a follow-up email to check on the status and got a more detailed reply in March 2021:
We would like to let you know, that we have already taken legal steps in regard to your case and it is currently in the hands of our lawyers. We have reached out to the external lawyer, who is responsible for handling of your claim, for an update and they have informed us that they are waiting for a hearing date in court.
I got a new update in September 2021 saying:
As you are aware, we are in the midst of legal action against the airline. In the months leading up to the court’s final decision, there are a few more steps to take. Once the preparatory hearing is concluded, both sides prepare for the final court date, which must be appointed within the next 12 months. The date of this hearing is determined by the court’s calendar and, as such, unfortunately, we have no influence over it.
Hmm, I suppose it’s taking a while to actually get a court date…
I just asked for another update in May 2023, and nothing has really changed. My dashboard on the website has been showing this for years now, that the summons has been set and now we are waiting for a court date.
I find it a bit entertaining, and I’m curious how many years it will take 🙂
Payouts + Fees:
For those curious, in terms of compensation and fees, you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Fees are taken out of your compensation. It shows that our flight compensation is $541.90 USD (which is 250 EUR times 2 passengers converted to USD). Then, there is a service fee of $135.47 USD and a legal action fee of $135.47 USD. So, if everything goes through we stand to get about $270.96 USD ($135.48 per passenger). So the fees are a little more than half the EU261 stated amounts.
Overall, it’s been an interesting process so far using AirHelp. My claim had been accepted, and it’s been sent to court. The process started in April 2019, and we passed the 4-year mark in May of 2023. I’m in for the ride, and interested to see how it plays out…
Have you used AirHelp before? Has your claim gone through and did you get paid? Feel free to share below!
Have any questions? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve also started working with a travel agency, Fora Travel, and can assist in booking hotel stays or planning trips. You can also view all my other posts here! Thanks for stopping by!