AirHelp is a "justice as a service" company that provides an online legal service to help air passengers get compensation from airlines when their flight has been cancelled, delayed or overbooked. Air passengers are entitled to a payment ranging from €250 to €600 in compensation when their flight is delayed or cancelled, depending on the length of the delay and the distance travelled on the route. After AirHelp managed thousands of successful applications for customer payouts in its first nine months of operation, Denmark's national airline association Danish Aviation (Dansk Luftfart) admitted it was concerned about the trend towards more compensation claims, warning that it could lead to increases in fares.
However, under EU Regulation 261/2004, if a traveller is leaving from an EU country or arriving to an EU country with an EU registered airline, they could be entitled to compensation if they experience delays of more than three hours. These rules also apply to people from outside of the EU and they can be claimed as far back as five years. Using the example of the UK's Manchester Airport alone, it has been shown that compensation totalling tens of millions of pounds remains unclaimed.
On the AirHelp website, smartphone app or Facebook page, air passengers can check if they are eligible for compensation. They can then request that AirHelp handles their claim on what the company describes as a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. If the said claim is successful, AirHelp keeps a 25% contingent fee from the final compensation payout.
AirHelp says it aims to simplify the claims process by using its own ‘automatic flight compensation technology’ that relies on vast quantities of airport, weather and airline data, thereby consolidating a pool of legal content from a multitude of sources. In doing so, the company hopes to empower travellers to make full use of their consumer rights, and in turn raise the level of customer care provided by the airlines.
The service has launched in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and claims to have helped more than 250.000 passengers in 35 countries.