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Airlines Reluctantly Adapt to Reimbursing Travelers for Flight Disruptions

TUI Fly says it’s the first airline to work with tech vendors to automate and standardize the process of flight disruption claims. Larger carriers, take note: You also need to reduce your enormous backlogs of consumer claims, whether you build tech in-house or find a vendor. — Sean O'Neill

European airlines are bowing to consumer demands for faster compensation due to flight disruption. Traveler demands have gained force thanks to recent court rulings, plus the rise of several compensation claims companies. In five recent legal proceedings, Ryanair paid damages to passengers for delayed and canceled flights due to last year’s labor strikes, according to testimony revealed in a German court last month.

The Dublin-based budget carrier had previously insisted it would fight the claims related to strikes.


In a small but notable move, TUI Fly, an airline owned by tour operator TUI, has begun to automate its claims redemption process.

A customer uses TUIFly’s mobile app to file a flight compensation claim, via a system powered by, one of several flight compensation and legal consultancies providing services to the travel industry.

TUI Fly is using technology from, a claims compensation firm, to power its service. The companies said it’s the first time an airline has outsourced its process to a tech vendor.

More than a dozen services have sprung up since 2010 to help consumers claim compensation. However, airlines have balked at cooperating with these companies.

“Justclaims is not a claims farm but more a company that offers a service to manage claims, which is totally different,” said a spokesperson for TUI Fly, explaining why the airline is using the vendor’s tech.

Many airlines have yet to make simple moves, such as creating online forms that prompt consumers to fill out relevant information in a structured way rather than send emails that require more manual review.

The aviation attorneys at Justclaims argue that some of the vendors handle claims unprofessionally. “We aim to make their services redundant or obsolete by helping airlines cope with the claims efficiently and accurately on their own,” said its managing director Ulrich Steppler.


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