Passengers held up for more than three hours can get up to £520 under EU laws.
But firms use loopholes to snub some claims — by blaming lateness on factors such as bad weather.
Andy Hughes, 38, got £1,068 after he, wife Karen, 33, and son Jack, five, had a 24-hour delay on a TUI Luton-Lanzarote trip.
Yet TUI snubbed his claim for in-laws Janet and Terrence Warburton — on the same flight — citing poor weather.
Armed forces worker Andy, of Maidenhead, Berks, said: “Did TUI think they could fob them off as they’re in their 60s?
"I went to a claims dispute service and won.”
Thomson Airways denied Margaret Gibb, 65, of Aberdeenshire, compo after her Mexico-Gatwick jet was seven hours late.
Yet law firm Bott & Co told her it got payouts for 11 fellow travellers.
TUI said: “We continually review how we handle claims.”
Thomas Cook said: “If fliers are entitled to payments, we ensure they can easily submit claims.”
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