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How the Delta Power Outage Netted One TPG Reader $865 in Compensation

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Update 9/23/16: Josh wrote in to let us know that he received a refund of 31,250 SkyMiles to compensate for his unused JFK-DEN segment. Additionally, Delta has confirmed that it will reimburse the cost of his hotel and transportation. Well done, Josh!

Update: Note that the below policy only applies to flights departing the EU, or flights departing another destination for the EU operated by a EU carrier (or one based in Iceland, Norway or Switzerland). Josh would not have been eligible for this compensation if his Delta flight had departed the US.

Last month’s Delta Air Lines power outage that left thousands of passengers stranded at airports across the world ended up costing the airline more than $100 million in lost revenue. Not only did Delta have to pay for employees’ overtime pay, but it also distributed $200 vouchers to travelers who were delayed more than three hours or canceled, among other avenues of lost revenue. And now we know that the carrier ended up having to dish out even more for passengers.

We originally told you about TPG reader Josh D.’s adventure on the day the power outage occurred as he was trying to travel from Athens, Greece to New York. He followed up with us to let us know how he ended up getting bonus compensation out of his delays — most likely because of laws in the EU. EU laws state that if you’re significantly delayed or denied boarding as you travel to or from an airport in the EU, you’re entitled to compensation. You can read the EU’s full passenger rights here.

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The EU’s air passenger rights for delayed, canceled and overbooked flights.

Josh originally purchased a one-way ticket from Athens (ATH) to New York (JFK) and on to Denver (DEN) for 125,000 Delta SkyMiles and €319 (~$359). After a nearly 2.5-hour delay in Athens, he missed his connecting flight in New York that was going to take him back to his home in Denver. When he first called Delta to ask for compensation because of the missed flight, he was rejected because the missed flight was in the US. He told the agent that his missed flight was due to a delayed flight from the EU, and since it began there, he should be reimbursed as a canceled flight per EU regulations (especially since Delta rebooked him on a flight 24 hours later when he had to be be home that night).

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Josh purchased his ticket from Athens to New York and then on to Denver for 125,000 miles and 319 euro.

A little less than a month later, Josh received a $200 flight voucher from Delta. He called the carrier again, very angry with the amount given, noting that it didn’t even cover the cost of a hotel for the night in New York City, taxis and the cost to book him a flight on United Airlines to get him home more quickly than Delta could accommodate. The Delta agent instructed him to fill out the standard online Delta contact form, which he did. He never heard back from the airline, but a few days later, Delta ended up sending Josh a check for $665 (which appears to match the €600 he would have been entitled to for a delay of four or more hours), bringing the total compensation for the power outage and missed flight to $865.

This is a great reminder of how knowing the rules — specifically those of the EU — can really benefit you and net you a huge payday. If your flight to, from or through anywhere in the EU (plus arriving flights from Iceland, Norway or Switzerland) was impacted by the Delta power outage, try calling Delta to see if you’re eligible to receive compensation or send the carrier a copy of the EU Complaint Form.

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