Compensation Clinic: Avianca Flight Delay


A previous Reader Question-case dealing with significant Avianca flight delay has turned into a Compensation Clinic one (read original RQ here).

Remember that you can always email us, send a message via FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, and include photos too. We’ll try to cover Compensation Clinic cases regularly.

You can access Avianca here.

What we reported earlier:

I was scheduled to fly business on Avianca AV46 from Bogotá to Madrid yesterday (02/21). Departure time 23h20, arrival in Madrid at 15h40 local time.

Half an hour into the (rocky) flight, the plane turned back citing ‘technical difficulties’.

We were greeted on the runway by a bunch of fire trucks and after a half an hour sitting on the plane finally told to disembark. Hotel and food vouchers were to be issued.

The new flight time was set for 1pm the following day (02/22), so a 13h+ delay. flight

The process was a complete mess. Announcements were in Spanish only. No priority was given to business passengers. Polite requests for information simply went ignored.

In particular I wanted to know whether I could opt for a full refund and rebook myself on a different carrier for a morning flight out. I also asked whether I could book myself into a hotel and claim the money instead of using the 50 dollar hotel Avianca gave a voucher for. Both questions were ignored.

By now it’s past 3am and I just cleared immigration to go to the designated hotel.

Could you share how you would have approached this and advise what to aim for in terms of compensation?

Update from the reader:

They sent the stranded passenger to ‘City Express Junior Bogotá Aeropuerto’. Comparable to Ibis hotels in Europe.

Meantime they shoved an EMD in my hands at the gate worth USD 580. Which they said is an Avianca voucher to be spent on the airline. I don’t intend to fly them again (I am based in Asia, so really no overlap with their routes).

I filed an online complaint and asked for cash settlement.

Would you request anything else or more?


It is easy for airlines to give out vouchers because their breakage is high (don’t get used). The amount is correct considering the delay, but the hotel used not.

If it is challenging to extract cash from Avianca, I would try to find a solution where they deposit some LifeMiles into your account (if you don’t have an account – you can always open one). The equivalent amount of $580 would be 50K to 60K miles

The reader could then use those for partner flights in Asia (Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, ANA, Air China, EVA, and perhaps even Air New Zealand).

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