Brussels airlines is the largest airline in Belgium and is the flag carrier for that country. It flies to more than 90 places including Asia, Africa, North America and Europe and additionally has charter services and crew training. It was created in 2005 when two airlines merged; SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express. SN Airholding who owned SN Brussels Airline signed an agreement with Richard Branson to take over Virgin Express and one company was formed with a new name and it started operations in March 2007. In September 2008 Lufthansa acquired a 45% stake in the airline with an option to acquire the rest from 2011. It was in 2009 when it was announced that the European Commission had given approval for Lufthansa to take this minority share and they then became part of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer programme which is called Miles & More. In 2009 they also started working on a new regional airline in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but it only lasted for three years between 2012 and 2015.
In July 2010 a new Airbus was added to the fleet which allowed flights to Abidjan to be increased to six a week and they also added four new destinations; Ouagadougou, Lome, Cotonou and Accra. In August it started working together with Club Med and from April 2011 they were transporting 80% of Club med passengers both on existing and new charter routes. In 2011 their maintenance contract ended so they took over doing it themselves, moving to a bigger building and recruiting new staff from the Sabena Technics who were doing the work before.
In 2012 it added more America destinations including a daily route to New York JFK, which was the first Belgian airline to offer this service for ten years. In June 2013 they also added routes to Washington Dulles and added Toronto Pearson in April 2016. A new airbus arriving early 2017 allowed a Mumbai service to operate five days a week.
It was in January 2014 when they announced big expansion plans to return to the polish market after not flying there for some time and adding nine new seasonal destinations. In September 2016 Lufthansa announced that it would be buying the remaining 55% of the shares in the company so that SN Airholding, their parent company could take over the business. Then in March 2017 Thomas Cook announced that it would sell its Belgian operations to Lufthansa and their aircraft and traffic rights will be given to Brussels Airlines.
The company offer four ticket options for flyers. There is a very low cost fare with no checked-in luggage and any food or snacks required have to be bought on board called Check&Go. There is a regular economy service with the same buy on board service called Light&Relax. An economy plus class has a full service with catering, newspapers, fast security lane and priority boarding called Flex&fast and there is a full-service business class with premium meals and free champagne called Bizz&Class. The very cheapest option is not available on medium, and long haul flights.
Many airlines have a reputation for giving a poor service with lots of delays and cancellations etc. Although Brussels Airlines is not one of those that has recently been flagged up as problematic, there are flight delays, like there are with all airlines. It is worth knowing that if you get affected by a delay it may be possible for you to be able to claim compensation for that.
Compensation is paid out under European Regulation 216/2004 as long as the airline is based in the EU or flying within certain conditions in the EU. As Brussels Airline is based in the EU then it will fall under this regulation. There are quite a few conditions that you have to meet to be able to claim compensation but it is worth being aware of the basics so that you know whether it is worth you looking further into getting compensation. If your flight is delayed due to a fault with the airline and you arrive at your destination more than three hours late then you can claim compensation. The amount that you can claim will depend on how late you are as well as the distance travelled. You can claim up to 600 euros. If your flight is cancelled then you have to be offered a refund or an alternative flight. If that alternative leads to you being delayed then you could also claim compensation with the same terms as above. You may also be able to claim compensation if you are not allowed to fly. This can sometimes happen if a flight has too many passengers on it.
All airlines overbook their flights as they assume that there will be some last minute cancellations. However, this is a risk and sometimes too many passengers turn up. The airline will tend to start by asking if anyone would like to get off the plane. They may offer an incentive such as an alternative flight and compensation and it will be up to the volunteer to negotiate with the airline then and there as to what they want in exchange for getting off the flight. If there are not enough volunteers then the airline will pick people. This is when you can claim compensation. They may pick those that paid the lowest for their ticket or that bought their tickets last. They will not choose those that paid premium fares. If they choose you then you will be able to get compensation.
You may feel that it is too much effort to make a claim, but the process is fairly simple and you could end up getting a significant amount of money, which could be extremely useful to you.