They'll help you get cash for your flight delays

You could say Connie Sue White is in the one percent.

No, she's not rubbing elbows with Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg, she's joined the one percent of airline passengers who speak up and get compensation for delayed or canceled flights.

White used a burgeoning business called AirHelp, which has automated the process of filing complaints with airlines and requesting compensation.

"I thought it was very easy," she said, after applying for compensation for a five-hour delay during a trip to Newark, NJ to Europe.


AirHelp says thousands of airline passengers are due compensation, but 99 percent of them do not speak up to receive it.

"Some of these rights have actually been in place for almost 10 years. The problem is, airlines are not exactly advertising that is the case," said Nicolas Michaelsen, AirHelp's founder.

Michaelsen explained that international flights are more likely than domestic flight to reap rewards, and that weather problems are generally not covered. But other flight disruptions -- such as crew scheduling errors, equipment breakdowns, and overbookings -- can be lucrative.

"Depending on the distance of your flight, it's up to $650 approximately," he said.

The AirHelp website says payouts can reach $800 -- cash.

AirHelp makes the process as simple as filling out a form on its website. It then takes a commission.

"If we get money for you, we take a 25-percent fee. If not, then it's completely free," Michaelsen explained.

Michaelsen estimated that AirHelp has successfully landed compensation for 100,000 passengers. He went on to say consumers retroactively apply for compensation on flights up to three years back.

"We're empowering passengers to get what they should have been getting all along,” he said, reiterating that airlines do not typically advertise that passengers should receive compensation in certain circumstances.


Connie White was due money, but she says Scandinavian Airlines did not inform her (or other passengers).

At first, she said she was skeptical that AirHelp could automate the application process.

"Hmmm,” she said. “Is this for real?"

But a few months later, she became a believer when Airhelp told her she was due $435 for that five-hour delay in the Newark airport. A check was on its way.

"I said, 'send it on,'" she explained. "I took it to the bank and it cleared."

Where does she plan to spend the windfall? Overseas -- again.

"I put it back in my travel account,” she added.