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Passengers deserve unclaimed money from airlines, says new site

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If a passenger has ever had an issue with an airline but failed to file a grievance, they might want to rethink that.

The time spent to file a grievance could translate to financial compensation. One company says airlines owe passengers $10 billion for valid claims but only 2 percent of flyers receive the money they legally deserve.

AirHelp tracks every flight in the world and keeps data on occurrences such as weather conditions. When a passenger enters their flight information free of charge, the website will tell consumers if they are eligible for compensation.

Nicolas Michaelsen, co-founder of the website, explained how it works.

“For every specific flight in the world, we know exactly how delayed it was and what happened around that instant. So then we can map out and say okay, well this is the amount of passengers that are eligible for compensation, and then we know how many passengers claim what they are legally entitled to,” he said.

He said there have been many situations where airlines have claimed a weather delay, but it’s actually been something else.

In addition to the data it collects, AirHelp also has lawyers who can help fight your case. The company keeps 25% of what you get back. And that could be more sizeable that you think.

If someone is bumped from a flight, they are entitled to double the cost of the one way ticket if the new arrival is delayed by one hour, and four times the cost if it’s more two hours late. That compensation is capped at $1,300.

Passengers who agree to a voucher waive their right to full compensation.

If an international flight is delayed by more than three hours for any reason but weather, compensation can reach a monetary value of up to $650.

Many flyers don’t realize that if a flight is cancelled for weather, passengers can receive a full refund.

When it comes to lost baggage, the airline must compensate the passenger for the cost of any bag that has been missing for 21 days.

Passengers are entitled to part of that compensation starting at seven days.

The general rule is to file a claim is three years from the date of travel.