How We Got Paid for a Flight Delay
We recently returned from a glorious 4 day trip to squeaky clean Copenhagen. Although it was super cold in comparison to our tank tops and t-shirt weather in Texas, we had an amazing time exploring the beautiful Nordic city. I enjoyed Copenhagen more than a mug of spiked hot chocolate smothered in whipped cream on a cold winter day. I even pleaded with my better half for us to move there. I mean how can you beat the immaculately clean streets and the ability to leave your bike, I mean anything really, including babies, outside of a shop without anyone stealing them. And, did I forget to mention, my favorite beer, Carlsberg. Yes, Copenhagen was so great, I’d transport my whole life across the Atlantic Ocean to be there all the time. Read more about my infatuation with Copenhagen here.
When It was time for us to leave Copenhagen, I finally understood what my kids feel like when Chuck E. Cheese closes and it’s time to go home. Our flight was scheduled to depart Copenhagen CPH airport at 9:05 pm, and in preparation for our return to Manchester, we’d arrived at the airport a little before 7pm. We took our time strolling through with the littlest and I even stopping for a dance when we passed by one of the airport restaurants that was playing Bruno Mars. She is definitely the music lover in our bunch. We were flying with EasyJet, so we made sure to check in online, a day or so before. EasyJet has this neat “Hands-Free” program that allows customers to check cabin bags for much less than it costs to check regular hold luggage. We were able to dump our six back packs and glide through the airport unburdened for a mere £14 total. In case you’re not familiar with the program, read about it here.
Back to our flight, we entered security and knew the drill. Take off your shoes, jackets, then any electronics and liquids out of your bag in a separate tray. And in my case, let me pat your hair because it looks a little out of the ordinary. They needed to make sure my hairpins weren’t some kind of dangerous weapon. Luckily, security wasn’t too crowded that evening, and we squeezed through the pat downs pretty quickly. After security we checked the airport departures board because we still hadn’t been assigned a gate. I should have known something was up then. About an hour after arriving to the airport, there was a page over the intercom for passengers traveling on the EasyJet flight from Copenhagen to Manchester, eh hmm meaning us. The announcer said to head to the customer assistance area for further information. After 30 excruciating sand through the hour glass minutes of waiting for an agent to come and tell us what was going on, a gentleman from EasyJet approached. He informed us that the flight would be delayed for mechanical reasons. Now you know what follows. Of course he wasn’t sure how long it would be, or what was really going on, or if we’d really be flying that night, but he offered us a voucher of 10€ for each person in our party of six. He let us know that we could use the vouchers to purchase food and drinks inside the airport. Looking at the growing line of frustrated people behind us, we knew we’d better take the vouchers and just go.
So, there we were, stuck in the airport with two tired little kids, a grumpy big kid, and a Grandma that was over it. The excitement had worn off and the need for jammies and Netflix had settled in. We’d left our hotel at 3pm to savor one last day of exploring Copenhagen. In hindsight, maybe this wasn’t the best idea, but how could I have known that our flight would be delayed. As frustrating as it was, there was nothing we could do. Ian took the kids to buy whatever they wanted with the vouchers. They returned with a couple of lollipops, some Oreos, a bag of chips, and a couple of bottles of water, because hey, this is Copenhagen. Things are expensive! Thank goodness I’m usually prepared with snacks from home like fruit, nuts, and anything else I can shove in these kids’ mouths when they’re having a meltdown in the immigration line. It didn’t help that we’d forgotten Harper’s iPad in Paris before arriving in Copenhagen. We were one iPad down, and now had to spend our wait in the chilly airport listening to bickering over not being able “to see” the iPad. Needless to say, we made the best of it. After a while of trying to keep them occupied, we gave up and let them play with the dirt in the plant pots. They buried their hands, a few small toys, and eventually the lollipops in the dirt. I know this sounds terrible, but after 4 hours of waiting, I could’ve cared less about them spilling dirt or even eating a little bit of it. The plane finally arrived from London, a shocking five hours late. Once aboard we were told by the manager that the flight had been delayed due to a hydraulics issue. They apologized. Well, thanks. We luckily got through the flight without any further incidents and arrived in Manchester at 2:51 am instead of the scheduled 10:05 pm.
The next morning, we all woke up pretty tired and some of us even confused about what city we were in. But we were very happy to be out of the airport and back with family. Although I was irritated by the delay, I was ready to move on. However, after venting to some UK friends about the delay, they told us that we could be eligible for compensation. I had a little look around on the good ‘ole internet and found that we could make a claim with EasyJet for the flight delay. The claim form was straightforward. We had to fill out our names, flight details, reason for the claim, and bank information. It was, surprisingly, really easy to do. After submitting the claim, I received an automated email that said claim specialists would review our claim and get back to us.
It only took four days to hear back personally from an EasyJet representative who informed us that we were indeed eligible for EU 261 compensation. She stated that the delay was within their control and was considered a non-extraordinary circumstance under EU law. We were going to be compensated around £200 each for the delay. You would’ve thought I’d won the lotto! The email said that it could take up to 14 days for the money to arrive in our account. In reality, it took 7 days from the time we made the claim to receive the money in our bank account. If the delay had been shorter or we had been traveling without the kids, I probably would have skipped filing a claim. But after an almost 5 hour delay, late at night with tired kids in an airport where all the stores were shut, that claim was getting filed. Period.
Would I fly EasyJet again? In a heartbeat. I’m always looking for budget travel, and as long as EasyJet keeps providing that, they are good with me. Ok, maybe it’s not the best choice for travelers who are on a tight schedule. But, other than lack of punctuality, I’d have to say that EasyJet is a good budget airline that has outstanding customer service. Their planes are clean and updated which is more than I can say for quite a few US based domestic carriers. Additionally, they offer perks for traveling families, like being able to board first. Plus, if they’re running late, there’s a possibility you could get paid. A win-win in my books.