Obtaining unclaimed money from an airline

FILE - In this July 23, 2013, file photo, a US Airways jet takes off from Pittsburgh International Airport in Imperial, Pa. The last flight for US Airways will take place in fall 2015, and then one more name in airline history will disappear. American and US Airways merged in December 2013 and decided to keep the better-known American name. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

(WSPA) – If you have ever had an issue with an airline but failed to file a grievance, you may want to rethink that. The time you wasted could translate to big bucks. In fact one company says airlines owe you 10 billion dollars for valid claims, but only 2% of flyers are getting the money they legally deserve.

AirHelp tracks every flight in the world and keeps data on things like weather conditions. Enter your flight information for free, and you’ll know whether you’re eligible for compensation.

Nicolas Michaelsen, the co-founder, told us 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 OK, well this is the amount of passengers that are eligable for compensation, and then we know how many passengers claim what they are legally entitled to,” he said.

He said there have been “quite a lot” of 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.

For instance, if you get bumped from a flight, you’re entitled to double the cost of the one way ticket if your new arrival is delayed by one hour, and four times the cost if it’s more 2 hours late. That’s capped at $1300. flyers who agree to a voucher waive their right to full compensation.

Also, if your international flight is delayed by more than three hours for any reason but weather, you can get up to $650 dollars.

Here’s another money saver, many flyers don’t realize that if your flight is cancelled for weather, you can get a full refund.

And when it comes to lost bags. The airline must compensate you for the cost of any bag that has been missing for 21 days. But you are entitled to part of that compensation starting at seven days.

After all that, if you’re kicking yourself for not filing a claim, you may still have time, the general rule is you have 3 years from the date of travel.

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