Flight delays can cause all types of headaches and stresses, and often, customers are unclear as to whether or not they are eligible to be reimbursed for their troubles. In Europe, the EU261 legislation outlines what travellers are entitled to for delays of three hours or more, with compensation ranging from €250 to €600 depending on the distance. Now, a new app has just been launched that offers users a pay-out every time their flight within Europe has been delayed for one hour or more, but there’s a catch.

Colibra pays users when their flight has been delayed for over one hour © Colibra

Colibra allows users to add their flight information up to 20 minutes before take-off and before any delays have happened. They can then use the app to set a time delay after which compensation will be paid out. The default setting is a 60-minute delay while choosing a longer delay time will increase the potential pay-out. There's one thing to know though. By using the app, you must first agree to waive your entitlement to a potentially bigger payout under the EU261 guidelines. By doing this, Colibra enables its users to receive compensation on delays of one hour or more.

“At first people seem to be puzzled how they can get compensated for flight delays that are not covered by the EU regulation [that pays out after three hours] and without having to pay anything upfront. However, [they then] learn the underlying principle, that all this is possible because we collectively agree to share the downsides so that more of us can enjoy the upsides,” Miroslav Zaporozhanov, Co-Founder of Colibra told Lonely Planet.

So is it worth it?

It’s basically a game of chance. By using Colibra, you would be hoping that if your flight is delayed, it will be for no longer than three hours (at which point you would normally be entitled to a bigger payout under EU regulations) in favour of being eligible to receive compensation for flight delays within a shorter timeframe that you would not normally be compensated for. 

According to the company, their system results in more frequent pay-outs for the average passenger, with one-hour delays being more probable than three-hour delays.

Airport Smartphone
In exchange for smaller pay-outs, users waive their rights to the full amount of compensation that airlines give for delays of over three hours © Hinterhaus Productions

“Another way to describe it is a private collective of flight delay rights – you invest your potential right to the fund and when a certain condition is met (say you have a one-hour delay) you get paid from the collective in 24 hours. The collective itself collects compensations from airlines which distributes to a lot more air travellers thus making the regulation more fair, easier and accessible. The collective's manager Colibra, takes the risk to pay community members before it has collected the claim from the airline. For all that Colibra takes a management fee of 20%,” the company said.

Pay-outs range from €20 to €110. Colibra has an article on its website that goes into further detail about how it works for travellers who want to take their chances. 

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