Turns out there's some money in the airline game — at least for the team behind the app AirHelp, which endeavors to claim restitution monies from airlines on behalf of the mad, the late, the lost-of-baggage.
In other words: basically anyone who's ever flown by commercial plane.
Here's the pitch: airlines legally owe passengers a variety of fees for lost luggage, overbooking and delays. Passengers often miss out on them — either because they don't know about them, can't be bothered to pursue them, or are just so angry that even thinking about certain flights isn't worth the eventual compensation.
AirHelp aims to streamline that process. Just enter your flight details, and you'll learn whether you're eligible to be the lucky recipient of hundreds of dollars in fees. If so, AirHelp will pursue that claim. And if they get you some cash as a result of their efforts, AirHelp takes a cut. If not, they don't.
Angry pax add up: the company says it has collected $85 million from airlines on behalf of disgruntled customers over its three-year lifespan.
And now Silicon Valley has noticed the Y Combinator-backed startup's success: it just pulled in $12 million in Series A financing, with contributions coming from Khosla Ventures, Evan Williams, Naval Ravikant and others.
Our experience with the app has been mixed — despite considerable flight woes on one recent journey (read: eight hours on the tarmac, which breaches a number of FAA-asserted passenger rights), AirHelp couldn't, in fact, help.
Of course, your (literal) mileage may vary.