Review of Airhelp in 2021: A Complete Overview on Fees, Convenience, Payout Time & Customer Experience

Airhelp helps passengers claim compensation of up to € 600 from airlines – minus its 35-50% success rate. But is this offer preferable compared to alternatives? One may well wonder, especially in view of the wide range of different fees Airhelp can charge: Is it the best flight compensation company on the market?

To answer this question and to put Airhelp’s service and conditions in perspective, Qamqam subjected the passenger rights website to a detailed test and compared it with competitors in 2021. This also included an evaluation of the experience customers have had with Airhelp so far.

The most important findings from this review are summarized concisely right at the beginning of this article. All details concerning fees, the duration of the procedure of Airhelp’s service, its convenience and customer ratings can be found further below.

Time until payout

Several months

Qamqam Bewertung Airhelp Auszahlungsdauer 3.0

Convenience

Moderate

Qamqam Bewertung Airhelp Komfort 3.0

Customer experience

Good

Qamqam Bewertung Airhelp Komfort 4.0

Compare Airhelp with other flight compensation websites now.

Qamqam has conducted a thorough examination of

  1. the fees Airhelp charges for its services.
  2. how long it takes for Airhelp to confirm an application and pay the promised compensation to customers.
  3. how much effort a passenger has to invest to use the service.
  4. what positive and negative experiences customers have had (evaluation of customer feedback).

Airhelp auf dem Prüfstand 2020

Airhelp put to the test


Qamqam Gesamtbewertung Erfahrung mit dem Fluggastportal Airhelp

Overall result

In Qamqam’s rating system, Airhelp achieves an average overall score of 3.3 out of 5 possible stars.

The company can certainly point to positive customer reviews in a direct comparison with rivals. However, Airhelp lags behind its competitors in terms of the level of its success rates, the convenience of its online form and the waiting time until payout.

The results of our research can be summarized as follows. This is how Airhelp performs under the aspects we have considered:

Service fee
Airhelp 35-50% (incl. VAT)
Other websites ≈ 29% (incl. VAT)
Payout amount
Airhelp max. 390,00€
Other companies max. 450,00€
Payout speed
Airhelp Several Months
Other companies 1-3 days
Convenience
Airhelp Okay
Other websites Very high
Customer reviews
Airhelp Good
Other companies Excellent

Which website offers the best flight compensation deal for your flight?

To illustrate how Qamqam arrived at its rating for Airhelp, each of the following sections is dedicated to one of the review categories listed above. Step by step, the article discusses Airhelp’s service under these different criteria. If you want to learn more about how Airhelp performs in relation to competing flight compensation websites, you can find additional information on this page.

Payout amount

Seitenteiler Auszahlungshöhe mit 3 Sternen Grafik

Article 7 paragraph 1 of the European Air Passenger Rights Regulation entitles passengers to a lump-sum flight compensation for certain disruptions such as cancellations and delays

  • on short trips (=250 € per person),
  • on medium-haul routes (=400 € per person) and
  • on long distance flights (=600 € per person).

If such claims are enforced by Airhelp, the company retains at least 35% of the respective nominal value including VAT as a fee for its services according to the current price list (as of May 1, 2021). After deducing this rate from the compensation collected from the airline, Airhelp forwards the following remaining amount to the customer depending on the length of the flight:

  • 162,50 € for short distance flights,
  • 260,00 € for medium-haul flights and
  • 390,00 € for long distance flights.

If Airhelp’s fees were limited to the indicated rate alone, the company would outperform at least some of its competitors in terms of the amount of flight compensation it actually pays to users. Unfortunately, Airhelp does not offer these conditions in every case.

Often the company adds surcharges not immediately visible: If an airline does not pay without the involvement of a lawyer, Airhelp will charge its customers an additional Legal Action Fee. The latter amounts to another 15% (including VAT).

Along with the service fee, this surcharge will also be deducted from the amount of compensation left to the customer. Legal Action, which triggers the additional remuneration under article 1.15 of Airhelp’s standard terms and conditions, is defined as „filing a Claim with a court or a government body, such as a national enforcement body (NEB), or handing over a Claim to a contracted legal representative, such as an attorney or law firm“ (see article 1.14 of Airhelp’s STC).

This means: An extrajudicial claim letter by a lawyer after the initial request by Airhelp and even more so the launch of legal proceedings raises the premium owed to Airhelp. Conversely, the flight compensation company restricts its remuneration to the mere service fee only if it suffices to send a simple extrajudicial letter of request to the airline before it pays up.

Airhelp does not provide any information on how often the company has to invest additional effort to enforce its customers‘ claims for compensation. However, the most educated guess would be that the frequency of legal proceedings ranges between 60% and 80% of all of Airhelp’s cases, thus resembling values which competitors report. Therefore, a customer can well expect that he will probably have to pay the Legal Action Fee in addition to the basic rate – and therefore more than what he would owe to most alternative passenger rights websites.

From the moment a lawyer is involved in asserting a claim for compensation against the airline, Airhelp’s customers receive only half of its actual face value, namely

  • 125,00 € per person for short distance flights,
  • 200,00 € per person for medium-haul flights and
  • 300,00 € per person for long distance flights.

If the sum of the service and legal fees is regarded as the usual rate Airhelp charges, the level of its eventual compensation payout is clearly below average. As the company does not provide any information on the percentage of cases settled out of court, one can only speculate how often the service provider can offer more favorable conditions.

But even if one assumes that in one’s own case no legal proceedings will be necessary to enforce the claim for flight compensation, one should bear in mind that Airhelp will only charge its lower rate in cases where a simple extrajudicial request already convinces a carrier to pay and an attorney does not even have to submit a claim letter in the follow-up.

Under such favorable circumstances, a traveler could probably collect the compensation by himself just as well and save a potential fee altogether. Yet, judging by the experiences customers and other flight compensation companies publicly refer to, such cases are rather rare (for additional information on self-enforcement please refer to further explanations in our lawyers‘ blog guide on claiming flight compensation).

Payout amount of Airhelp compared

Comparison of the payout amount offered by large flight compensation agencies
Company Payout amount
EUclaim max. 421,50€
Provision:
29,75% (incl. VAT)
Ersatz-Pilot max. 450,00€
Provision:
≈ 29,9% (incl. VAT)
FairPlane max. 425,10€
Provision:
≈ 29% (incl. VAT)
Flug-Verspaetet.de max. 421,50€
Provision:
29,75% (incl. VAT)
Airhelp max. 390,00€
Provision:
35-50% (incl. VAT)
Compensation2Go max. 392,00€
Provision:
34,51% (incl. VAT)
EUflight max. 414,36€
Provision:
30,94-42,84% (incl. VAT)
Flightright max. 400,08€
Provision:
23,8-52,36% (incl. VAT)
Wir kaufen deinen Flug max. 350,10€
Provision:
41,65% (incl. VAT)

Which company pays for your flight?

Not every airline is prepared to settle compensation claims at the first request. In many cases, carriers will not pay the lump-sum owed for a delay or cancellation to passengers unless they are sued. To help enforce claims at zero cost risk despite this frequent rejection is the business model of passenger rights websites like Airhelp.

Therefore, the company must either limit itself to collecting debt from airlines that pay up relatively fast or – for economic reasons – charge the higher rate including the Legal Action Fee. For similar reasons, EUclaim was forced to raise the level of its success fee at the beginning of 2019. Similarly, Airhelp’s largest rival Flightright introduced a surcharge for legal proceedings in 2019. It is added to the rate it charges whenever a law firm is hired to conduct a legal dispute with the airline, e.g. for court proceedings.

If this would only affect a negligible number of cases, especially the two major flight compensation websites Airhelp and Flightright probably would have been able to go without the additional remuneration. Since they charge it nevertheless, it can be assumed that a higher success fee impacts their revenues considerably due to the significant amount of cases that require court proceedings. For an individual customer this also means that he is likely to contribute a higher premium to the overall fees Airhelp generates.

While alternative flight compensation companies continue to charge substantially lower fees, Airhelp can only achieve three out of five possible stars in the review category of compensation levels. If you want to compare the fees charged by the largest European passenger rights websites in case of a specific flight, please use our free tool.

Period until payout

Seitenteiler Geschwindigkeit Service mit 3 Sternen Grafik

Anyone who has ever tried out Airhelp’s service knows that it is a collection agency. This means that the company will only pay out a compensation once the claim against the respective airline has been successfully enforced. Depending on the circumstances of the individual flight disruption and the airline, the duration until the payment is forwarded to the customer varies considerably.

Occasionally though, carriers are indeed cooperative and pay voluntarily. If Airhelp transfers this amount promptly to the passenger’s bank account, he has to wait „only“ three to five weeks for his money.

However, as can be seen from numerous customer reviews, there are at least as many cases in which a law firm must reinforce the claim’s assertion extrajudicially or even conduct court proceedings against the airline. An extrajudicial pursuit of the claim by a lawyer usually takes one to three months. Besides, according measures cannot be launched until Airhelp may deem them necessary.

Otherwise, Airhelp will typically not be allowed to seek a reimbursement of its legal fees from the debtor under most European national jurisdictions. Instead, the company will have to bear the costs of legal proceedings by itself. At the same time, legal enforcement can only be regarded as necessary if a carrier fails to comply with an initial request for payment within a reasonable period of time (for instance, within two weeks). In addition to this deadline, an extension may have to be granted to afford an airline sufficient time to process a claim. Therefore, customers will have to wait at least two to four months in total if a lawyer must assist in the proceedings.

If it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, the process might take even longer. The duration of the proceedings depends on whether the airline has its headquarters in the country of the competent court, another EU member state or in a third country. For instance, cases against German airlines before a German court can be conducted in German. Otherwise, every pleading must be translated unless the airline appoints a German attorney as a representative during the proceedings. Any translations of legal documents will cost additional time.

Lawsuits against carriers headquartered in the country of the court typically take four to ten months. Conversely, they can drag on for years if conducted against foreign airlines.

Based on public customer feedback, Airhelp takes three months on average to forward compensation payments to users. Passengers who value a fast payout may wonder if this waiting time is usual or whether competitors manage to expedite the process.

Waiting time until payout by Airhelp compared

Comparison of the duration between application and payment by major flight compensation companies | Qamqam
Website Time until payout
Compensation2Go 1-3 Tage
Ersatz-Pilot 1-3 Tage
EUflight 1-3 Tage
Wir kaufen deinen Flug 1-3 Tage
Airhelp Wochen bis Monate
EUclaim Wochen bis Monate
FairPlane Wochen bis Monate
Flightright Wochen bis Monate
Flug-Verspaetet.de Wochen bis Monate

Which company pays for your flight?

Of course, the exact timing of a payout by a given service provider for an individual case cannot be projected with complete certainty. Especially with respect to collection agencies, the waiting time depends on the specific reaction of the airline to the claim for flight compensation. Often the behavior of carriers frequently changes: This may be because their available capacities to process cases out of court varies or because they adapt their strategy concerning how to respond to claims out of court (whether to reject some or all of them outright or whether to engage in protracted disputes at this stage or not respond until a lawsuit is brought forth).

Overall, however, Airhelp’s payout speed can be put into perspective as follows: There are various competitors who can help customers to get their flight compensation significantly faster. In contrast to collection service providers like Airhelp, factoring companies enjoy a comparative advantage by paying out flight compensation to passengers within a few days upon their application through their web apps – even before legal action is taken against the airline.

Like all other collection agencies, Airhelp therefore receives only three out of five possible stars in the payout period category. To get to know more about the ranking of different companies under this criterion, we recommend the page linked right here, which discusses how the largest flight compensation websites speed up the compensation process.

Convenience

Seitenteiler Komfort mit 3 Sternen Grafik

A central sales argument for Airhelp’s service is that the customer is not exposed to any cost risk. There is no need to pay in advance for anything – neither for Airhelp’s services, nor for lawyers‘ fees or other potential costs of legal proceedings.

Airhelp’s 35% rate is only due in the event of success – even the 15% surcharge for legal action is only deducted from the payout to the customer if a compensation is actually obtained. To reflect the whole picture, however, it should be mentioned that this principle is enshrined in the terms of conditions of every other flight compensation website as well. Charging a mere success fee does not constitute a unique selling point of Airhelp.

In contrast, the limited possibilities for contacting the flight compensation site are unusual on the market. Apparently, the only way to contact Airhelp is by creating a user account (see screenshots from October 2, 2020).

Airhelp contact issue

Without logging in, a potential user can only access the publicly available FAQ section. If you are looking for the telephone number of a hotline, a chat box or an e-mail address, you will not find it on the Airhelp website. It is remarkable that not even the imprint contains such information (see screenshots from October 2, 2020).

200503 Imprint Airhelp

Especially for interested passengers with initial questions about Airhelp’s service these restrictions seem rather uncomfortable. After all, it is easy to understand why a first-time user does not necessarily want to create an account directly just to make a demand for the offer.

Besides, there are more reasons for point deductions in the review category “Convenience”: Unlike some of its competitors (e.g. EUclaim or Flightright), Airhelp’s web app that determines a user’s eligibility to compensation does not appear to automatically match the input of flight information with entries in external flight databases in multiple respects. For instance, Airhelp does not determine the length and cause of a delay of a specific flight by itself. Instead, the user has to describe the flight irregularity in detail by filling out the form manually. This is not particularly user-friendly. Moreover, it renders an automatic plausibility check during the use of the form impossible.

Therefore, it can be assumed that the web app’s exclusive reliance on user data to evaluate a passenger’s eligibility to compensation requires a subsequent manual check of the input by the company’s staff. This may lead to follow-up questions. Until an application is finally confirmed, one can expect additional e-mail correspondence following the online enquiry at least in individual cases.

Overall, Airhelp does not reduce a customer’s effort quite as much as competitors. Instead, it’s web app requires more manual contributions than the average eligibility checkup on flight compensation sites. In contrast, other claim companies offer a much more convenient way of obtaining compensation.

Few competitors require their customers to answer that many questions in their online forms manually. Instead the web apps of many other flight compensation sites are designed much leaner and collect significantly more flight data automatically by tapping comprehensive flight databases such as Flightstats or Flightradar24.

Convenience of Airhelp compared

User-friendliness of large flight compensation websites in comparison | Qamqam
Company Convenience
Ersatz-Pilot Sehr hoch
Flightright Sehr hoch
EUflight Hoch
EUclaim Hoch
FairPlane Hoch
Airhelp Okay
Compensation2Go Okay
Flug-Verspaetet.de Okay
Wir kaufen deinen Flug Okay

Which company pays for your flight?

As a unique selling point, Airhelp has developed an app that is designed to facilitate filling out its online form on a mobile device. However, since this app has to be installed first and presumably does not use automated database queries, the application does not appear to be much more comfortable than using the website itself. In the opinion of the Qamqam editors, the app does not expedite the application process tremendously compared to an online form simply optimized for usage on a mobile device that most of Airhelp’s competitors provide as well.

Airhelp might have had similar thoughts given that its app could no longer be downloaded from popular app stores, as of May 2021. Either way, the only path to apply for compensation now runs through its online form, which is solid but does not stand out in terms of user-friendliness.

Consequently, Airhelp achieves only three of the possible five stars under the aspect of convenience. How other claim companies perform in this category is covered in this comparison of established European service providers.

Customer ratings

Seitentrenner Kundenbewertung mit 4 Sternen

Airhelp claims to help passengers to obtain their compensation without stress and without a lot of paperwork. Moreover, the company emphasizes its abundance of experience in the field of air passenger compensation. But how satisfied are its customers?

On the review website Trustpilot, the company achieves a TrustScore of 4.6 out of 5 stars, which reflects the average rating of the reviewers (as of May 1, 2021). By May 2021, a total of over 100,000 customers had rated their experience with Airhelp on Trustpilot.

In addition, Airhelp’s app received over 2,000 reviews after more than 100,000 downloads in Google’s Play Store. Here, users rated the company with an average of 4.0 out of 5 stars. However, as of May 2021, the app is no longer available in Google’s and Apple’s app stores. Therefore, the current level of customer satisfaction is reflected most adequately by the reviews published on Trustpilot.

Hence, most customers seem to be satisfied with Airhelp’s service. A noticeable amount of critical comments can be found, nevertheless.

Customer reviews of Airhelp in comparison

Comparison of customer satisfaction with major passenger rights agencies | Qamqam
Website Customer ratings
Ersatz-Pilot 5/5 (Trustpilot)
EUflight 4,96/5 (Ausgezeichnet.org)
EUclaim 4,9/5 (Trustpilot)
Airhelp 4,6/5 (Trustpilot)
Compensation2Go 4,6/5 (Google)
FairPlane 4,6/5 (Trustpilot)
Flightright 4,6/5 (Trustpilot)
Flug-Verspaetet.de 4,3/5 (Trustpilot)
Wir kaufen deinen Flug 4,7/5 (Trustpilot)

Which company pays for your flight?

Our detailed comparison with other flight compensation providers shows that most competitors outperform Airhelp in terms of customer satisfaction. Multiple rivals receive relatively better ratings from their users.

Below, Qamqam summarizes pieces of praise and criticism that stand out in the feedback from Airhelp’s customers:

Positive Experiences

Above all, users enjoy the professional handling of compensation procedures: Even during longer waiting periods, Airhelp communicates continuously with customers and keeps them up to date with interim reports on the status of the legal proceedings, according to published feedback.

In the eyes of many reviewers, the reliability of the company even compensates for its high success fees. For many customers, Airhelp’s convenience compared to enforcing claims by themselves seem to justify the price of the service. Hence, the overall experience with Airhelp is often very positive.

In most cases, Airhelp also seems to confirm the initial assessment of a claim in the online form quickly and to initiate the necessary further steps without hesitation.

Customers also often praise Airhelp for the fact that they generally pay out flight compensation immediately after it has been obtained. Up until now, the waiting time is very rarely increased by any internal delays in the company’s accounting department, judging by published customer opinions.

Besides, users expressly appreciate the helpfulness of Airhelp’s customer care unit. A growing number of comments indicates that Airhelp has actively supported users in clarifying the circumstances of the specific flight experience even when they lacked recollections themselves.

In addition, the mobile app’s user-friendly functionality is often mentioned positively and at least appears to be more sophisticated than rival products – for example, the one developed by the company Wir kaufen deinen Flug. Multiple customers have expressed appreciation for the fact that the app displays the complete preliminary check from the online form. It even allows to upload travel documents along with the application to Airhelp. Nonetheless, the integration of a mobile device’s camera function into the app’s interface needs improvement according to some customers.  Apparently, it sometimes causes the app to crash when users try to take a picture of their boarding pass.

Negative Experiences

Some customers heavily criticize Airhelp’s success rate as exceptionally high. With reference to competitors, multiple users show little understanding for the fact that only relatively small amounts of the compensation they are entitled to is paid out after fees are deduced.

In addition, several users complain that Airhelp rejects applications too hastily when the company anticipates protracted legal proceedings. Because of this, the flight compensation site is regularly accused of „cherry-picking“: Airhelp prioritizes applications regarding claims that are comparatively easy to enforce, according to various users. To what extent this criticism is valid cannot be judged with absolute certainty. However, it should be point out that this notion is expressed repeatedly on review websites.

Many customers also report that after a long waiting period they were informed that the proceedings had been discontinued due to diminishing prospects of success. A few reviews even suggest that users were only informed after a processing time of five months or longer had already elapsed.

Furthermore, some customers voice their dissatisfaction with the tedious communication with Airhelp. They regarded the information on ongoing proceedings as insufficient and too unspecific. The answers of the collection agency are said to be partly composed of text modules and were not individually tailored to respond to the customer’s concrete inquiry. Inferring from this feedback, Airhelp apparently fails to ensure its customer service’s professionality across the board. On the other hand, Flightright and FairPlane, for example, with equally long experience in the collection business, manage to communicate more routinely.

How representative are the reviewed customer ratings?

It can be assumed that Airhelp has probably made more than a hundred thousand compensation payments to customers since its foundation. This would at least be the logical inference from its own statements and its status as the largest flight compensation company worldwide. Thus, the publicly available reviews we digested represent only a small portion of Airhelp’s customer base.

This in turn raises the question how satisfied the rest of its users was with the company’s service. Due to the lack of additional published evaluations, there are of course no specific indications in this regard. It is probably true, however, that the respective portion of customers neither felt enough enthusiasm nor frustration to be prompted to write a public review. This indicates that most users were moderately satisfied with Airhelp.

Against this background, Airhelp receives four out of five possible stars in the review category covering customer ratings. To find out more about how competitors are scoring under this aspect please refer to this article which features an overall comparison of 9 large European flight compensation websites.

Airhelp or an alternative?

Ist der Anbieter für meinen Fall geeignet?

A decision for or against Airhelp depends mainly on a user’s individual preferences. It is therefore advisable for every passenger to compare the offers of different flight compensation companies before contracting a particular service provider.

At least some cases, it may well be worthwhile to take a look at Airhelp’s competitors: Several competitors demand significantly lower success fees or pay out the promised compensation more quickly at least for flights departing from or arriving in larger European countries. To figure out which flights qualify for the service of different flight compensation companies, Qamqam has developed a free web app. By using the web form below, users can check within a few minutes which claim agency offers compensation for a specific flight under what conditions.

Did a significant flight irregularity occur during your journey? Then you are welcome to test our free comparison tool and see which service provider can reliably help you to obtain the highest possible compensation. Otherwise, you can go directly to Airhelp’s website here.

Seitentrenner Vergleich der Fluggastportale

What are air passengers entitled to apart from the lump-sum compensation?

Unfortunately, only few passengers are aware that the EU’s Air Passenger Rights Regulation does not simply require airlines to pay a cash compensation of up to 600€ for delayed or cancelled flights to and from the EU. In fact, airlines must alleviate the inconvenience of passengers affected by a flight irregularity in other ways too.

For example, airlines must also pay for hotel accommodation and the corresponding transfer to and from the airport if a flight is delayed or cancelled completely until the following day. Moreover, passengers are entitled to free snacks in the event of a waiting time of more than two hours. If luggage is damaged or other quantifiable damages occur as a result of a flight irregularity, further claims for compensation against the responsible airline may arise from the Montreal Convention as well as from national contract law. Moreover, passengers can claim a ticket refund if their airline cancels their flight and does not provide adequate alternative means of transportation (art. 8 Regulation (EC) no. 261/2004).

Qamqam has compiled all relevant information on what affected parties are entitled to in addition to a cash compensation. The respective article provides a complete overview of air passenger rights in the event of flight delays. Besides, Qamqam has drafted a comprehensive guide that shows under which conditions a passenger is entitled to compensation in the event of cancellation or delay.

You can find even more information on your rights under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation (Regulation (EC) no. 261/2004) on the following websites:

Author: Simon Sturm

Rechtsexperten auf dem Qamqam Anwaltsblog

The article was written by Simon Sturm on May 1, 2020 and updated on May 1, 2021. Mr Sturm established the comparison website Qamqam in 2018 and continues to oversee its operation. Besides, he regularly evaluates the conditions of selected law tech companies and compares them with rivaling offers.

Knowledge in a nutshell

FAQ | knowledge in a nutshell
Helpful answers to frequently asked questions 4
# 1

If a passenger contracts Airhelp to enforce a flight compensation claim, the company retains at least 35% of its face value as a service fee (including VAT). A customer therefore receives ca.

  • 162,50 € for short distance flights,
  • 260,00 € for medium-haul flights and
  • 390,00 € for long distance flights.

Unfortunately, Airhelp does not offer these conditions in every case. If an airline does not pay without hiring a lawyer, Airhelp will charge its customers an additional legal action fee of 15% (including VAT). Consequently, Airhelp only pays out half of what a customer’s claim against the airline is worth, i.e. ca.

  • 125,00 € for short haul flights,
  • 200,00 € for medium-haul flights and
  • 300,00 € for long distance flights.
# 2

Airhelp is a flight compensation website: The company asserts claims for compensation payments of up to 600€ per person against airlines under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation in the event of flight irregularities. In return, Airhelp charges a rate of 35% incl. VAT and, if applicable, a 15% fee for legal action only in the event of success.

According to its own information, the collection agency works together with law firms in over 30 countries to enforce claims worldwide.

# 3

Airhelp does not publicly provide a telephone number to call its customer care unit (as of May 1, 2021). The company can only be contracted once a user first registers on Airhelp’s website and creates a user account. Other flight compensation companies such as Refund Pilot or FairPlane, on the other hand, offer more direct ways to communicate free of charge; these include hotlines and contact forms on their websites.

# 4

To contact Airhelp, users must first register on its website and create a customer account. Opening a user account is free of charge but may take a few minutes. Unfortunately, as of May 1, 2021, there is no possibility of contacting the flight compensation company before such an account is set up. A hotline or a contact form on the website is not available to users without an account.