It all started with a canceled flight. When Arvada, Colorado-based mom Anna Hamp experienced a flight cancelation while on vacation in Europe with her family she wasn’t aware that she could be compensated under European law. After realizing that compensation is available for canceled European flights, Hamp decided to spread the word to fellow travellers. Today she runs EU Flight Delay the first U.S.-based flight compensation company.
Hamp’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
When my kids’ and my flight from New York to Berlin was canceled in 2017, I had no idea that I could get compensated under European law. Thankfully, a kind European relative told me about EU regulation EC 261/2004 and helped connect me to a company that facilitates getting the compensation prescribed by law. By the time we got back to Colorado, I had close to $2000 from the airline in my bank account. As I was sharing this story with my American friends, it became apparent that none of them had ever heard about the possibility of getting compensated. So in the fall of 2018, I launched the first (and so far, only) U.S.-based flight compensation company, EU Flight Delay. I partnered with the same European company that helped me get compensated a year earlier and now we work together to spread the word to American passengers and to help eligible travellers get the money they are entitled to under European regulation.
According to the dictionary definition, “success” is “accomplishing an aim or purpose” or “achieving a favorable or desired outcome.” So for each person, what they feel constitutes success depends on what their aim is or what outcome they are hoping for. In my family life, success to me means raising healthy, well-adjusted and compassionate children. In my work, I feel successful when I help others with what I do. And in my life overall, success means finding the right balance between working and spending time and being present with my family.
I can’t point to one “biggest success” in my life. Rather, I feel that being successful overall is a composite of small successes over many years. Being an immigrant and settling into a new country and new culture has been an accomplishment that I am proud of. I have worked as an ESL teacher for many years and helping my students improve their English skills or pass an important exam definitely counts as success. I was also a doula for seven years and have felt successful in helping women on their journeys to motherhood. More recently, with my current business, every time I can help someone get the compensation they are entitled to is a success. And perhaps most importantly, keeping my children alive and thriving each day is probably my biggest success.
The biggest challenge has been getting the word out to the right people: those that have traveled to Europe in the past few years. Being a relatively new small business, our advertising budget is limited. It is difficult to compete against some of the large European flight compensation companies that have lots of employees and a large budget for advertising and social media. However, people that do find EU Flight Delay really like the fact that it is a small company that can offer very personalized customer service. My goal is for EU Flight Delay to be well-known among travelers so that they know their rights and when their European flight is delayed or canceled, they know who they can turn to if they don’t want to deal with navigating the process of getting compensated by themselves.
My best friend – who tragically died at age 41 – is my role model. She was a wonderful mother, a successful entrepreneur, and a loyal friend.