At what price?

Things are changing for passengers. When airlines delay and cancel flights, travelers are no longer powerless. The European Union imposed compensation up to $650 for passengers for delays just three hours long. But somehow, the US is still silent. That is, until a new app came along and changed the game. Even US travelers now have potential for delay compensation.

a sign with arrows and directionsService

Service is a new app which offers a different approach to airline compensation. Airlines in most of the world outside Europe are not legally liable to compensate passengers, but they never want to infuriate customers or lose future business. For this reason, they will often offer a voucher, miles or even cash to apologize for travel issues. Service does all the (painful) work to make this happen – but it’s not quite that simple.

How It Works

The app scans your inbox for up to three years of previously delayed or cancelled flights, anywhere in the world. The app can also proactively monitor any future flights, automatically filing a claim on your behalf – if you so choose. The app uses top security measures to ensure integrity of your inbox and does not peek at your mail. It just runs automatic scans for flight details which may bring compensation.

a screenshot of a phoneThe Good News

Service is free and costs nothing if they get nothing. Airlines (intentionally) make it difficult to receive vouchers, miles or financial compensation – so the app undergoes all the letters and correspondence to get you what you deserve. The worse your troubles, the more compensation you’ll get!

The Bad News

Service will take 30% of whatever they’re able to procure on your behalf – but they want cold hard cash. So if you receive a $100 voucher, they’ll take $30 bucks worth in cash, out of your pocket. Same for miles. Service uses points valuations to calculate the cash value of 30% of the miles you receive.

You get the miles, they get the 30% fee from you in cash via a credit card payment. Competitors such as AirHelp only deal with actual cash compensation, rather than points or vouchers, so customers never part ways with cash – only a percentage of the cash winnings.

a screenshot of a flight scheduleThe Crucial Thought

Obviously, you’d need to be sure that you will find value from the voucher or miles before agreeing to Service filing a claim on your behalf. Once they file and win, you must pay them. If they do not win, you pay nothing. 30% is steep for clear cut cases, but unfortunately – outside of Europe very few cases are clear cut.

It’s basically great news for lazy or busy travelers who do not have the time to hassle with the airline to get what’s right. But if you win a $1000 voucher you can’t easily use, and the app wants $300 of your actual dollars – that’s not ideal, by any means.

Worth It?

Extracting miles, vouchers or money from an airline is an art form. You must use the right words, phrases and language to illustrate why the airline is in the wrong – and why your case matters. If this is not your forte, or you simply don’t have the time for frustrating correspondence – this is a “better than nothing” solution, with potentially great upside.

If you’re a frequent traveler with experience dealing with airlines, we have to say, we’d give it a pass. Check it out here.

What are your thoughts on Service?

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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