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May 9th, 2014 at 11:03 am

AirHelp gets you money back for canceled or delayed flights

airhelp

AirHelp

It can be hard to a book flight on an airline website, so imagine how hard it must be to claim compensation for delayed, canceled or overbooked flights. Meet AirHelp, the startup that will save you all the hassle and claim money for you. AirHelp has unveiled a major new feature, making the claiming process much easier. (Video)

 

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“Before today, you had to go to our website or app to give us your flight information. Then, you could see how much you could claim — but there is still a bit of friction in that,” AirHelp CMO Nicolas Michaelsen told me in a phone interview before Disrupt. “Now, you connect your Gmail account, we search for your flight itineraries and figure out how much you can claim. If you’ve been on a delayed flight for the last three years, you can claim money for that.”

But how much exactly can you claim? For a delayed, canceled or overbooked flight in Europe, you can get up to $800 per flight. In the U.S., you could end up with $1,300 for an overbooked flight. That’s why airlines will fight you very hard not to give you your money back. According to AirHelp, only 0.1 percent of eligible passengers get their compensation.

Not only AirHelp will do the hard work for you, but it will also generate some substantial revenue at the same time. And this is AirHelp’s secret sauce — every time the company goes through the compensation process, it takes a 25 percent cut. If there is nothing to claim, the startup doesn’t take anything. It bets that passengers are willing to give up that much because they wouldn’t have gotten any compensation without AirHelp.

“If passengers try and claim themselves, they’ll have to send tons of documents, they’ll experience dead links. And if you get through that hurdle, you’re likely to be rejected by the airline saying that it’s an extraordinary circumstance,” Michaelsen said. “We auto-generate the legal documents that you should send to the airline.”

Digging through all your email could take a while. So after connecting to your Gmail account, you can just close the window and do something else. You’ll receive an email with interesting stats and potential claims a few hours later.

After that, you have to give AirHelp the rights to handle the claims, and it’s done. It can take a few weeks to get your money back. Finally, the startup will ask for your bank information to transfer the money. But even though this sounds like a cumbersome process, 90 to 95 percent of it is automated.

So far, 25,000 people have used the service. AirHelp raised a $400,000 seed round from business angels. The startup also participated in Y Combinator’s latest batch.With its 25 percent cut, the company is already doing very well. The team of 16 will turn profitable within a month or two. “We’ve been making revenue since day one,” Michaelsen said.

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Via Tech Crunch

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