• Travelin' Tim

Protecting the Passenger


So, as previously blogged, I recently returned from an amazing trip to incredible Iceland. What I have not talked about yet is the bumpy start to the vacation.

On May 19, my Icelandair flight from Boston to Reykjavik was cancelled at the last minute due to a 'malfunctioning indicator'. A bummer for sure, but the airline booked me on the next evening's flight and comped me a hotel room and a couple of meals. I ended up spending the 20th hanging out in Boston on a beautiful spring day. The downside was I missed the entire first day of the tour, which included Iceland's famous Golden Circle. What I didn't know at the time was that thanks to a European Union regulation, I was entitled to 600 Euro of compensation from the airline for the cancelled flight. Here's how it works: If you're a passenger on any flight on an EU airline that comes from, goes to, or flies within the EU, and your flight is cancelled or delayed by more than two hours (or if you're denied boarding due to overbooking), you can claim between 250-600 euro as compensation. There are, of course, exceptions for extreme weather or other 'extraordinary circumstances' (civil unrest, natural disaster, etc.), but otherwise, it's a pretty cut-and-dried policy. Other travelers that I've talked to said the process can sometimes be tedious, and that there are private companies who will make the claim for you for a share of your compensation, but to Icelandair's credit, my experience was a breeze. I returned home on a Monday and made my claim on Tuesday. They sent me a form to fill out, and by Friday 600 euro ($727) had been deposited in my bank account. It may not have entirely made up for missing a day of the tour, but It certainly softened the blow, and it certainly is refreshing to see a government protect the consumer over the corporation. If only other countries (hello, USA?) would do the same.

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