Review of Refund Pilot in 2021: Costs, payment period, customer opinions

Refund Pilot offers comparatively high reimbursements for its customers and attracts them with an immediate payout of the amount to be reimbursed. But are payouts of up to €450 within just a few days the best the market offers right now? We performed an in-depth analysis of Refund Pilot in 2021 and present our findings in this article.

Refund Pilot is a so-called direct compensator that offers its services only since 2017. This renders the company significantly younger than comparable competitors that also advertise immediate payments in case of flight cancellations or delays. But are Refund Pilot’s conditions better than the ones offered by the mainstream?

Our test review contains comprehensive answers to this question. To this end, the article starts with a general overview covering Refund Pilot’s services. Afterwards, we analyse what Refund Pilot offers on a step-by-step basis in the categories of amount reimbursed, payment period and user experience. Finally, we summarise the experiences customers had with Refund Pilot so far.

Compare Refund Pilot with other flight compensation websites now.

To introduce Refund Pilot, the article at first briefly explains Refund Pilot’s procedure leading up to an immediate reimbursement. Afterwards it will be looked at

  1. What commission is charged by Refund Pilot in exchange for its direct payout; and
  2. How long the procedure takes until Refund Pilot confirms a request and pays customers their reimbursement;
  3. What effort customers have to put in to get their reimbursement;
  4. What customers had to say both positively and negatively about their experience with Refund Pilot (analysis of published customer opinions).

Ersatz-Pilot auf dem Prüfstand

Refund Pilot put to the test

Ersatz-Pilot im Qamqam-Ranking

Total score

Within the Qamqam review system, Refund Pilot reaches a very good overall grade, scoring 4.8 out of 5 stars. While they could still improve slightly on the amount paid out, the comparatively new air passenger rights company reaches top scores when it comes to user experience, payment period and customer satisfaction. Now, some insecurity obviously remains given the fact that the company has not been around for as long as other service providers have. Still, the flight compensation website was not subject to any major criticism so far. The results of our analysis can be summarised in short as follows. Taking into consideration the following aspects, this is how Refund Pilot does:

Service fee
... ≈ 29,9% (incl. VAT)
Other websites 41,65% (incl. VAT)
Payout amount
... max. 450,00€
Other companies max. 350,10€
Payout speed
... 1-3 days
Other companies A few months
... Very high
Other websites Okay
Customer reviews
... Excellent
Other companies Very good

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

To explain Qamqam’s assessment, in the following, a section is devoted to each of the categories mentioned above. The article discusses Refund Pilot’s service under these aspects step by step.

Those who want to know how other providers perform in comparison can find further information on  this page where the largest German-speaking passenger platforms are compared. If you want to compare the offers of various platforms in case of one flight in particular, feel free to use our specially developed evaluation module.


Seitentrenner Symbol Abläufe

Platforms such as Refund Pilot grant immediate compensation as follows:

Firstly, the compensation options are evaluated free of charge and without obligation using the service provider’s online form. This query results in a preliminary assessment of whether or not a passenger likely holds a claim against his air carrier. Subsequently, Refund Pilot may follow up with further inquiries. Furthermore, passengers must use the online form to submit documents related to the flight entered such as the booking confirmation and the boarding pass.

The entire process is aimed at determining whether a valuable claim entered into existence due to a flight irregularity. Should Refund Pilot be convinced that this is the case, the passenger platform accepts the user’s request for compensation filed via the online platform by means of an email. In doing so, Refund Pilot buys the claim the user presented and immediately pays him a certain amount in exchange. Of course, the purchase price is below the nominal value of the claim against the air carrier. Thus, the passenger is paid a bit less than what he would receive if he were to pursue the claim against the air carrier by himself. This is the service provider’s commission in exchange for the customer receiving his money immediately whereas the passenger platform ought to deal with the air carrier at its own risk because of the claim. The difference between the nominal value of the claim (e.g. €600) and the payment by Refund Pilot (e.g. €426) is the company’s remuneration for saving the customer waiting time and effort until the claim has been enforced successfully.

The margin also includes the fact that the customer may keep his direct payment even if the claim proves to be unfounded or lacking value, for example, because an air carrier has to file for insolvency.

How direct compensators work

direct compensator infographic

So much for the basic principle. Now, let’s look at the procedure in practice: In order to enter into the assignment of the claim, the client files a request using the online form. Refund Pilot checks this request and usually accepts it. In doing so, the compensation agreement is brought into existence. In exchange for the user transferring his claim for compensation to Refund Pilot, the platform undertakes to pay him a purchase price in an amount that was previously determined immediately. In some cases, the contract has to be signed afterwards in order for it to be deemed evidence in court. This completes the procedure, however. Upon receipt of the immediate compensation, the procedure is finished on the customer’s side.

Afterwards, Refund Pilot must enforce the claim on its own. The passenger, however, is free to keep the money he received and is not involved in any further process.

Amount paid

Seitenteiler zur Bewertung der Kosten bzw. Konditionen des Anbieters mit 4 Sternen

Under Article 7(1) of the Flight Compensation Regulation, passengers are entitled to lump-sum compensatory payments in case of significant flight irregularities in the amount of

  • €250 on short-haul flights of up to 1,500 km;
  • €400 on medium-haul flights of up to 3,500 km; and
  • €600 on long-haul flights with a distance of more than 3,500 km between the places of departure and arrival.

Where such claims are assigned to Refund Pilot, the company keeps an average margin of just about less than 30% including VAT. This average is calculated based on Refund Pilot’s fees in the individual cases that were evaluated in Qamqam’s compensation calculator for which the company offers a direct payment (valid as of March 5, 2021). For more recent and shorter flight, this amount is slightly higher, for flights that took place long ago or were longer, a slightly lower amount applies.

This can be explained by the fact that Refund Pilot’s commission is lower percentage-wise for long-haul flights. In addition, claims for flights that took place more than three months ago are considered to be in default. In such cases, Refund Pilot does not have to pay VAT and, unlike some of its competitors, adds the amount saved to the amount paid out. Effectively, Refund Pilot pays its customers per person and per flight irregularity

  • €150-€166 on short-haul flights;
  • €250-€274 on medium-haul flights; and
  • €426-€450 on long-haul flights.

Refund Pilot’s offer seems particularly attractive with regard to flights that happened a longer time ago. But how does the passenger platform compare to its competitors with these figures?

Payout amount of Refund Pilot compared

Comparison of the payout amount offered by large flight compensation agencies
Company Payout amount
EUclaim max. 393,00€
Ø37,98% (incl. VAT)
Ersatz-Pilot max. 450,00€
25-29% (incl. VAT)
FairPlane max. 425,10€
≈ 29% (incl. VAT) max. 390,00€
35-50% (incl. VAT)
Airhelp max. 390,00€
35-50% (incl. VAT)
Compensation2Go max. 392,00€
34,51% (incl. VAT)
EUflight max. 400,08€
33,32% (incl. VAT)
Flightright max. 400,08€
23,8-52,36% (incl. VAT)
Wir kaufen deinen Flug max. 350,10€
41,65% (incl. VAT)

Which company pays for your flight?

The comparison shows that Refund Pilot is placed well above average when it comes to the amounts paid. The service provider is outperformed only in case of short-haul and medium-haul flights where collection platforms such as EUclaim offer slightly better conditions. Overall, however, the amounts paid out by Refund Pilot are by all means comparable to those of other collection services. Furthermore, Refund Pilot is able to set itself apart from other direct compensators who charge higher commissions in exchange for an immediate payout of compensation.

Thus, Refund Pilot is awarded four out of five possible stars in the amount compensated category.

Payment period

Seitenteiler Geschwindigkeit Service mit 5 Sternen Grafik

Those who have already dealt with Refund Pilot know: The platform is a direct compensator only. Similar to EUflight and different from WirkaufendeinenFlug, Refund Pilot does not pursue a hybrid model with the variant of a mere collection service.

Usually, a positive examination of the request is followed by an immediate payment. The company advertises this claim in the first heading of its main page already. There, it says: “Flight compensation? We pay directly.” This is also in line with the Refund Pilot experiences customers report on the Trustpilot evaluation platform. Payments received just a few days after requests were filed are mentioned throughout the reviews.

In addition, Refund Pilot offers its customers the possibility to claim an even higher compensation after 90 days have passed upon the occurrence of a flight irregularity. At first glance, this appears to be similar to the procedure offered by Flightright and others who grant payments to customers only after successful enforcement took place. But in fact, there is something else behind it.

A claim for compensation enters into existence at the moment a flight is cancelled or delayed. Should it remain unsettled for ninety days because the air carrier refuses to pay voluntarily, it is deemed in default; no VAT applies to the assignment of such claims from this point onward. In such cases, Refund Pilot adds the VAT saved to the amount that is to be paid to the company’s customers.

Thus, if a passenger requests a direct payment in case of a somewhat less recent flight, he receives it immediately in an increased amount. For more recent flights, Refund Pilot gives passengers the option to wait until 90 days have passed and to file a request subsequently. In this case, the payment takes a bit longer, but the conditions are even better.

Now, the question that arises is the same: How quickly does Refund Pilot pay out compensation compared to its competitors?

Waiting time until payout by Refund Pilot 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 Wochen bis Monate

Which company pays for your flight?

Compared to its competitors, Refund Pilot’s payout speed meets the market standard set out by all direct compensators without exceeding it. As a direct compensator, Refund Pilot sometimes beats the processing time of collection platforms significantly. All in all, swift compensation definitely does not set Refund Pilot apart from its competitors, but it undoubtedly gives it an advantage over service providers who only offer their customers collection services.

In the payout period category, Refund Pilot — just like every other direct compensator — is being awarded a full five stars.


Seitenteiler Komfort mit 5 Sternen Grafik

Refund Pilot can be used as described above: In a first step, the customer fills out the online form. In most cases, the platform already determines quite some information related to the flight entered using its access to connected databases. This is how Refund Pilot is often already able to determine whether a flight was cancelled or what a delay occurred. Since the platform nevertheless requests relatively detailed case data from the user, filling in the form takes a bit longer than it takes on other platforms. In our test, this took approx. 8 to 10 minutes. Once this has been done, a binding request for compensation can be submitted. According to customer opinions that were published, requests for direct payment are often accepted without any further questions. Still, Refund Pilot reaches out to the passenger in some situations. This happens, for example, when travel documents that were asked for in the online form have not been fully submitted.


Sometimes, Refund Pilot asks the passenger to sign a confirmation of the contract upon acceptance of a request. According to what the passenger platform says itself, this typically happens when it is likely that court proceedings will have to take place in order to enforce an assigned claim and when the local court that is likely dealing with the case typically requests such proof. Overall, it ought to be said that the customer’s effort remains clear and concise. It clearly seems as if Refund Pilot was eager to shift the processing of the request for compensation to the online form as much as possible and to reduce manual steps in the procedure to the minimum possible. Initially, these observations do not offer an assessment on how comfortable the user experience is in comparison to the competition:

Convenience of Refund Pilot 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 Okay
Wir kaufen deinen Flug Okay

Which company pays for your flight?

In a summery, it may very well be confirmed that Refund Pilot largely reduces the amount of engagement required from its customers. Ultimately, some customer engagement remains inevitable: The affected passenger must provide the necessary data for recording the case and prosecuting the claim — after all, he was experiencing the flight irregularity that potentially entitles him to compensation. Refund Pilot’s service proves to be just as convenient as the circumstances allow for the proper prosecution of compensatory claims. Besides Refund Pilot, it is the better-known Flightright collection service that also offers passengers affected a similarly straightforward route to compensation.

Refund Pilot, a passenger platform, therefore is awarded five out of five possible stars in the user experience category. This comparison of the largest service providers in the German-speaking area shows how the various passenger platforms perform in this category.

Customer satisfaction

Seitenteiler Kundenbewertung mit 4 Sternen Grafik

As a relatively new flight compensation website, Refund Pilot does not yet have several thousand ratings unlike its top dog competitors Flightright, Airhelp et cetera. Still, more than 200 users have shared their experiences on Facebook, Google and the Trustpilot rating platform (numbers as of March 5, 2021).

What is striking is that the ratings are consistently positive and many users award five out of five possible stars. Accordingly, there are only few suggestions on how to improve although they do occur even in those ratings showing the highest score. For example, one reviewer noticed that applying for compensation for groups of travellers is somewhat cumbersome with Refund Pilot because immediate ccompensation for additional fellow travellers can not be applied for directly in the first application regarding a particular flight, but only afterwards instead. But even in assessments that contain such minor criticism, the praise clearly prevails. How does one have to assess this?

Now, experience has it that nobody is perfect and this is why all this categorical praise has to be taken with a grain of salt. The lack of critical voices on review platforms so far may at first be related to the fact that the company simply has not been operating long enough for such voices to get heard.

The longer Refund Pilot operates publicly, the less likely it is that the passenger platform will enjoy positive feedback consistently. Gladly, Trustpilot, a rating portal with which Refund Pilot is registered, takes this fact into account. In order to be able to adequately classify even relatively new platforms and service providers, Trustpilot always uses eight average customer opinions in the complete assessment. This is why Refund Pilot does not reach a perfect score despite consistently very positive reports but only a TrustScore of 4.9 out of 5 possible stars.

Given the low number of ratings it must still be taken into consideration that these entries may be faked. However, there are quite some indications suggesting that such speculation is wrong:

Firstly, Refund Pilot chooses to mention the positive ratings on its website quite inconspicuously and does not refer to ratings at all in its ads. Those investing in fictitious reviews would likely try to benefit from them more actively.

Secondly, what supports the authenticity of the ratings is that they are within the framework of what one would expect after one year of operations. Customer ratings have been published in a relatively consistent manner since the company entered the market, yet no pattern can be determined that would suggest that ratings were planned.

Thirdly, the ratings are consistent with the impression Qamqam was able to gain during the product review. Given their business model of “immediate compensation”, the frequent praise of the experience reports for swift payout seems plausible. Similar praise can be seen in this respect from other direct compensators such as EUflight. A large number of customers seems to simply appreciate the uncomplicated processing by means of a bank transfer within a few days. In addition, Refund Pilot likely profits from it paying higher compensation amounts than other direct compensators. Seen in this light, the customer reviews match the conditions. Thus, Qamqam sees no reason to doubt the authenticity of the reviews as of now.

But how satisfied are Refund Pilot’s customers compared to those using competing platforms?

Customer reviews of Refund Pilot in comparison

Comparison of customer satisfaction with major passenger rights agencies | Qamqam
Website Customer ratings
Ersatz-Pilot 4,9/5 (Trustpilot)
EUflight 4,96/5 (
EUclaim 4,6/5 (Trustpilot)
Airhelp 4,6/5 (Trustpilot)
Compensation2Go 4,6/5 (Google)
FairPlane 4,8/5 (Trustpilot)
Flightright 4,8/5 (Trustpilot) 4,5/5 (Trustpilot)
Wir kaufen deinen Flug 4,1/5 (Trustpilot)

Which company pays for your flight?

Customers appeared to be largely satisfied with Refund Pilot’s service. This is why the comparison with other passenger platforms sees the company rank relatively high. There was hardly any other service provider that customers found even less to complain about. This is why Refund Pilot is awarded all five stars out of five in the customer satisfaction category.

Refund Pilot or an alternative?

Ist der Anbieter für meinen Fall geeignet?

Whether users decide in favour of or against Refund Pilot mainly depends on what is important to them individually. Therefore we recommend every passenger to compare the offers made by various passenger platforms prior to assigning the claim to one service provider in particular. It may prove lucrative to have a look at Refund Pilot’s competitors in individual cases: They could charge fees that are somewhat lower even though the compensation sum might be paid out later. Qamqam has developed a non-committal evaluation form that individually checks which passenger platform offers reimbursements at which conditions in case of specific delays or cancellations.

Did you experience delays on a flight? If so, we encourage you to check out our comparison tool free of charge to find out which provider can help you get your compensatory payment the best way. Otherwise, please find Refund Pilot’s website here.

This test report was written by the Qamqam editorial board and was most recently updated on March 5, 2021.

Seitentrenner Vergleich der Fluggastportale

What are passengers entitled to apart from compensation?

Unfortunately, only very few passegers know that the EU Flight Compensation Regulation does not only obligate air carriers to pay compensation. In fact, air carriers must mitigate possible inconveniences suffered by passengers in other ways, too:

They have to make sure that you can stay in a hotel and get a transfer arranged between the airport and the hotel, should your flight be delayed until the following day or should it have been cancelled completely. A delay of two hours gives you the right to demand meals and refreshments.

Your luggage was damaged or you suffered other quantifiable damages? In this case you might hold additional claims arising from the Montreal Convention or the German Civil Code’s general law of obligations. Qamqam has summarised what passengers are entitled to apart from a mere compensatory payment. This article offers an overview of passenger rights in the event of flight delays. Our complete overview on European law regarding flight compensation furthermore shows what requirements must be fulfilled in order for passengers to hold a claim for flight compensation due to cancellations or delays.

Please find further information on your rights arising from the EU Flight Compensation Regulation at the following links:

Knowledge in a nutshell

FAQ | knowledge in a nutshell
Helpful answers to frequently asked questions 2
# 1

Effectively, Refund Pilot pays its customers per person and flight irregularity

  • €150-€166 on short-haul flights;
  • €250-€274 on medium-haul flights; and
  • €426-€450 on long-haul flights.

Thus, the company keeps an average fee of approximately 30% of the face value of the claim (including VAT). In return, passengers can receive direct payments of the aforementioned amounts immediately after applying on Refund Pilot’s website.

# 2

Refund Pilot is an air passenger rights company: The service provider enforces claims for compensation against air carriers. As a “direct compensator”, Refund Pilot promises passengers who suffered delays to pay them out immediately in exchange for charging about the same commission as competitors that take longer for a reimbursement.