Airlines do their best to convince customers they are their number one concern, but it doesn’t always feel like that when something goes wrong. An issue could occur before, during or even after the flight – such as when dealing with the nightmare of trying to reclaim luggage.
When something goes wrong, it’s usually fairly significant. Passengers are often keeping to tight time schedules, which could affect raises and promotions, or even result in a missed job opportunity. Alternatively, someone on a flight may have missed a small window of opportunity to see a family member, and so it is important that airlines know when they have done wrong.
How to write an airline complaint?
- Wait until you have calmed down before you write out your complaint. You want to be clear, concise and polite in your message
- Make sure that your airline complaint is as professional as possible with the correct grammar and spelling
- Try to provide any documentation you may have connected to your complaint
First step is to write down everything that happened to you on your flight or while you were dealing with the airline company. This can be noted down quickly. This step is simply to ensure you don’t forget the details of what happened, ready for when you sit down to compose your final complaint later on.
After you finished your complaint we advise you to send it to the company directly, but also report it on this platform. This way you have the biggest chance to have it resolved.
When should you complain about an Airline?
There are some situations that you may not want to complain about because it won’t be worth the time, or you may not get the response you desire. For example, sending a complaint that your seat was uncomfortable will probably be overlooked and fall to the bottom of the pile.
The airline is unlikely to take your complaint seriously, as most airlines are getting thousands of emails like this on a daily basis. However, anytime your airline experience puts your life in danger or ends up costing you money and time (such as losing out on a business deal, or missing an urgent medical appointment); it’s time to complain – and loudly.
Why complain about an Airline?
This depends on the airline, the issue and how willing you are to keep pursuing it if you’re unable to reach a satisfying conclusion first time. For serious issues, it is definitely worth sending that initial email. Beyond that, you will have to determine whether or not pursuing the matter is worth your time and effort.
Possible result of an Airline complaint
If your complaint is not dismissed, there are several things that may happen as a result of your communication:
- In the case of missing a flight that may have resulted in a failed business deal or another missed opportunity that greatly affected your life, the airline should provide compensation. Whatever they compensate you with may not be enough to make up for what you missed, but it at least reassures you the airline cared enough to provide some sort of compensation
- You may receive a personal apology from the airline to let you know they read your email/letter and that they are truly sorry for what happened
- They might offer you credit on a future flight or compensation for a hotel room of which you had to pay.
Where complain about Airlines?
Besides complaining directly through an airline its own procedures, we also advise to file your complaint on our website. We make sure your complaint gets the attention it deserves, so the airline will act accordingly.
Did you know you deserve compensation if an airline cancels your flight? This is just one of the many rights of an air passenger according to The US Department of Transportation (DOT).
This article will discuss your rights as an air passenger and how to sue an airline for violating your rights in small claims court. We’ll also show you a hassle-free way of suing with DoNotPay!
An Airline’s Contract of Carriage
We enter a handful of contracts every day from the purchase of subscriptions to the use of a public parking lot — the purchase of flight tickets is no different. The Contract of Carriage (CoC) defines the legal responsibilities of you and the airline.
If the airline violates the CoC, rest assured, the US Department of Transportation has policies in place to protect you.
Rights of An Air Passenger
The table below outlines your rights and how they are protected by the US Department of Transportation.
|Your Rights||What they mean|
|Right to honest fares||All airlines are mandated to display the true sum total of your ticket. There should be no hidden charges or extra costs to be discovered in the process of boarding.|
|Right to onboard care||While onboard, it is the responsibility of your carrier to provide you with refreshments, depending on the length of your flight.|
|Rights regarding bumping||If you are dropped by an airline due to overbooking, you deserve compensation, if you are not satisfied with the alternatives options provided.|
|Rights against delays and cancellations||You have the right to demand reasonable alternatives or compensation against delays or termination of flight by the airline.|
|Rights concerning baggage||In the event of theft, loss of luggage or luggage contents, or delayed arrival, you are entitled to compensation and replacement by the airline.|
|Rights concerning downgrading||If an airline offers you an alternative in a class higher than what you paid for as a result of bumping, you should bear no extra cost for the difference. If the new class is lower than what you paid for, you are entitled to compensation for the value difference.|
|Rights concerning disability||On no account should an airline carrier discriminate against you based on your physical disability.|
How To Sue An Airline For Violation of Rights
Before you sue an airline in small claims court, ensure you have:
- Read the Company’s Contract of Carriage: You signed up for this contract the moment you purchased a ticket. Make sure you check
- If they covered your grievance in the contract
- If the airline’s method of treating customers contradicts Federal Aviation Laws
- If there are stipulated dispute settlement methods
- Contacted Customer Care: Your airline has a duty to provide formal complaint channels for customers. Try to keep a record of all communications to serve as evidence if they fail to address your issue.
- Filed a Complaint with the Airline: At the point where you are unsatisfied with customer services’ response, you can formally file a complaint to the airline company.
- Contacted the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection: This is a special arm of the DOT created to address consumer complaints. You can contact the office at:
Office of Aviation Consumer Protection
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Phone: (202) 366-2220
How to File a Small Claims Lawsuit?
- Gather all evidence: This may include your ticket, bag stubs, section passes, and details of calls or text conversations with the airline management.
- File your case in court: You would need to check if the small claims court district in your area has any specific requirements such as the number of copies, filing fee, or the process to serve your defendant.
- Serve the airline: Since you are dealing with an airline company that may operate in various countries, the DOT requires that you serve your defendant in the country they are headquartered in or have a business premise located. This may not be your state of residence. You need to seek their correct business name and address. There are legal services that can do this for you.
- Prepare for your day in court: Present your evidence and be prepared to defend your case. DoNotPay can help you prepare:
- A custom-tailored script to use in court
- the right number of fully completed forms
- A list of evidence to present before the judge
Sue An Airline With DoNotPay
DoNotPay is an excellent legal service that helps you through the legal process, including determining your claim. With DoNotPay all you need to do is:
- Go to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now product
- Enter the type and value of compensation you seek
- Select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable evidence
That’s it! DoNotPay will generate a demand letter or court filing forms for you. The robot lawyer will also mail a copy of your demand letter to the airline on your behalf!
What Other Types of Lawsuits DoNotPay Can Help You With?
DoNotPay does not stop at helping you sue an airline! Check out some of the corporations the robot lawyer has been helping its users sue:
Many people have a fear of flying. The thought of getting on a massive aircraft that speeds through the air makes them incredibly uncomfortable. This fear might be great for lining the pockets of therapists, but in reality, flying is one of the safest ways to travel .
That safety record is what makes it all the more upsetting when you have injured onboard a plane or as a result of the flight crew’s negligence . You paid to get safely to your destination and that did not happen. Thankfully, there are options available to recover from your injuries.
So how do you succeed when you’re using an airline? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know about aviation litigation.
Where Were You Injured?
There’s no one way to fly. In fact, there are many different types of planes that fly for many different reasons. As a result, there are different laws that govern aviation.
The Federal Aviation Administration is the primary agency in charge of aviation safety in the United States. In addition to the FAA, there is the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB is charged with investigating civil aviation accidents within the United States.
Commercial airlines are governed by the Federal Aviation Act. This legislation mandates that airlines exercise a high standard of care in relation to their passengers. A standard of care is basically all the measures that the airline and its employees must take in order to make sure that passengers are not injured.
The Federal Aviation Act is also what the court will look to when deciding whether your injury was caused by the negligence of the airline and its employees. If the court finds that the carrier didn’t follow its standard of care and you were injured as a result, then you can recover from your injury.
Private carriers are also subject to the Federal Aviation Act.
Private carriers that fly aircraft with fewer than 20 seats are subject to the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994. GARA places time limits on when passengers can file lawsuits against aircraft manufacturers. Once an aircraft, and its component parts, have been in service for 18 years, then the manufacturer is no longer liable for accidents and injuries.
What Type of Injury Did You Suffer?
There are different processes and laws that apply to claimants depending on the type of injury they suffered. In the eyes of the law, there are two types of injuries someone can suffer: physical injuries and financial injuries.
If you suffered a physical injury as a result of flying, then the airline is subject to the Federal Aviation Act. In addition to this, if you were injured flying on an aircraft that had space for fewer than 20 people, then the previously mentioned General Aviation Revitalization Act applies as well.
What Caused the Injury?
Any time you are injured as the result of another person’s actions, the court is going to look at all the circumstances surrounding the injury in order to determine fault.
In law, there are certain factors that reduce your chances of success or that limit the amount you can recover as a result of the injury. If the court finds that your actions contributed to the accident, then it may reduce the amount of money you can recover proportionally or bar recovery altogether. This operates differently depending on the jurisdiction.
What If I’m Injured Before Boarding?
If you’re injured prior to boarding the aircraft, then who you sue depends on where you were and the circumstances of the injury. For example, if you slip and fall in the airport bathroom, then the airport is liable. But if you are injured by an airline employee at the airport, then it’s possible you can recover from the airline, or both the airline and the airport if there are other contributing factors.
Should I Hire an Attorney in Texas?
Hiring an attorney is essential to finding success with your claim.
Self-representation is referred to as pro se litigation . This means you represent yourself at all stages of the process, from filing the claim to going in front of a judge. Unfortunately, navigating the legal system is complicated, and many pro se litigants get tripped up in the process before going before a judge.
Self-representation might be okay for very small claims, but when you file a claim against a major airline or an airport, you’ll be going head-to-head against an experienced corporate lawyer whose job it is to minimize claims like yours. The good news is that there are attorneys out there who specialize in fighting back against those airlines. They have an in-depth knowledge of the law and the process, and they can help maximize the amount of money you receive for your injury.
Contemplating Suing an Airline?
Traveling via airplane has a lot of benefits. You get where you’re going sooner, and it’s a significantly safer way to travel. That doesn’t mean that it’s not without its risks accidents, both physical and financial will always occur.
That doesn’t mean you have no recourse for your injuries, however. Retaining the help of a knowledgeable attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve and increase your chances of success with your claim when you’re using an airline.
Have you injured onboard a plane or at the airport? Stepp & Sullivan, P.C can help you. Contact us today for a consultation!
Most of us are all too aware of what can go wrong when we fly. Bad weather, mechanical issues, airport delays, and booking problems can make for an unpleasant experience. Airlines may overbook flights to squeeze in every last passenger and need to bump some flyers to later flights. Then there’s the prospect of lost, damaged, or misrouted baggage and poor customer service.
Scheduling snafus and long delays passing through security can cause you to miss flights as well. Missed flights can lead to missed connections, and missed connections can cause you to miss an important meeting, wedding, reunion, or other function. These are all common airline complaints. We fly to get where we are going – few people fly because they enjoy the experience. Read on to learn how to file a complaint with an airline.
First Step: Work with the Airline
When things go wrong, your first point of contact should be the airline itself. Customer satisfaction is as important to an airline as it is to most other businesses, and airlines staff their ticket desks, lounges, terminals, and baggage claim sections to help customers. If you’re going to miss your flight, miss a connection, or want a refund, the ticket desk or a help line should be your first step.
If your baggage is damaged or missing, try to work with customer service representatives in the baggage claim area. Often there may be a simple, if still aggravating, way to address your problem. When that doesn’t work, or when an experience is simply that bad, you can also file a complaint against an airline.
Reasons to File a Complaint
Making a complaint can feel pretty good. But it can also serve a practical purpose. Filing a complaint creates a record of a problem. Airlines often become aware of recurrent issues at specific airports or problems with particularly personnel through passenger complaints. Passengers who suffer some sort of loss – whether a bag, an injury, or a financial loss – can benefit from making a written complaint at the time. This can later serve as proof that there was a problem and that you brought it to the airline’s attention.
A complaint against an airline can pack a real punch. Passenger complaints filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation are recorded. These complaints are then used to evaluate individual airlines and the wider airline industry. For example, the Department of Transportation publishes a monthly Air Travel Consumer Report that relies on customer complaints.
There’s also the annual Airline Quality Rating put out by Wichita State University. The AQR ranks airlines using data for on-time performance, denied boardings, mishandled baggage, and customer complaints. This publication attracts considerable media attention and airlines take it seriously. Results and reputation matter to businesses, and an airline cited for poor performance and negative customer satisfaction can suffer the consequences.
How to File a Complaint Against An Airline
It’s worth thinking about where to file your complaint. The most obvious target, of course, is the airline. Airlines manage your travel arrangements, handle your checked luggage, and can arrange new travel arrangements. They can also be responsible for any in-flight injuries that might occur. Filing a complaint with the airline is often the best way to achieve results. All major airlines provide a means for customers to complain. Typing the name of your airline and the word “complaint” into a search engine should turn up the necessary information.
Filing a Complaint with a Government Agency
You can also file complaints with the government agencies that oversee air travel. Be aware that different agencies handle different aspects of air travel and the airline industry. Make sure you direct a complaint to the appropriate agency:
- Flight Safety – Complaints that involve flight safety concerns should be directed to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
- Security Concerns – Complaints that involve airport or air travel security (or a problem with airport screening that doesn’t involve the airline) should go to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
- Consumer Complaints – Complaints related to consumer issues such as delays, cancellations, lost luggage, and customer service should be sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division.
You can expect to hear back from the airline or agency involved. This may take the form of a request for more information or simply an acknowledgement. There are also less official resources for publicizing your complaint against an airline, such as contacting a travel website that reviews airlines, using social media, and spreading the word to your friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances.
Talking to an Aviation Lawyer
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury, whether physical or financial, due to an airplane crash, consider contacting an aviation attorney to discuss your case.
Have you ever been on a flight that was delayed or canceled? Have you ever been “bumped” or denied boarding on a flight? If so, you could be entitled to airline compensation.
You know all that frustration and helplessness you feel when stranded at the airport? Turns out you’re not helpless at all. In fact, you have a lot more rights than you may realize.
The amount of compensation varies depending on the type of disruption and the route disrupted. But nonetheless, it’s in your power to reclaim the compensation owed to you. Here’s how you can.
How to Know if You Have an Eligible Claim
It’s important to understand that you don’t have to be stuck at the airport right now to be eligible for compensation. If you’ve been on a disrupted flight in the past three years, the airline could owe you money. Unfortunately, that’s where the simplicity ends.
The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Aeronautics and Space, Part 250 spells out U.S. traveler’s rights. For flights within the U.S., the only passengers protected are those denied boarding who arrive at their destination over one hour late.
If you’re flying to or from Europe, the law is defined by EC 261 and protects you from delayed, canceled, and overbooked flights.
Tap Here: File Your Compensation Claim Today –>>
If you’ve been denied boarding
If you’re denied boarding, the airline could owe you money if you’re flying within the US or to or from Europe:
- If you’ve been denied boarding in the U.S. and your new flight arrives one-two hours late, you may be eligible for 200% of your one-way fare (for a maximum of $650).
- If you’ve been denied boarding in the U.S. and your new flight arrives over two hours late, you may be eligible for 400% of your one-way fare (for a maximum of $1,300).
- If you’ve been denied boarding in Europe, you may be entitled to between €250 and €600 per passenger, as well as a full refund of your confirmed reservation.
If your flight is delayed or canceled
If your flight is delayed or canceled in the U.S., you’re not eligible for compensation unless you choose not to fly (in which case you should get a refund for your flight). However, you may be eligible for eu airline compensation if your flight to or from Europe is delayed or canceled.
The only times you’re not eligible for compensation for a delayed or canceled flight to or from Europe are:
- If the disruption was caused by “extraordinary circumstances” beyond the airline’s control
- If the airline notified you of the cancelation at least 14 days in advance.
How to File a Claim for Compensation from An Airline
There are multiple steps to follow when you file a claim for compensation. But before you do anything, it’s very important that you have the items below on hand for every passenger in your claim:
- The details of your trip (flight number, airline, the date and time of the flight)
- Copies of your ID and the flight itinerary
- A reference to the law you’re protected under (either EC 261 or The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Aeronautics and Space, Part 250)
1) File a Claim with the Airline
The first thing you should do when filing a claim for compensation for a delayed, canceled, or overbooked flight is to contact your airline. You can do this by calling them, writing to them, or asking a gate agent for the best method to file a complaint.
Keep in mind that the airline you booked with may not be the airline you flew with. If that’s the case, file the complaint with the airline you flew with. And make sure to include all the details listed above to avoid any unnecessary back and forth with the airline.
The potential downside: there are no laws requiring the airlines to get back to you. It could take them months to get back…or they might not get back at all. Try this method first, but understand it may not be the last step you take.
2) Take Your Case to Regulators
If the airline ignores or rejects your claim and you feel that you have a case, then the next step is to take your claim to the regulators. If you’re in the U.S., file a complaint with The Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD). If you’re in Europe or the UK, file a complaint with CAA.
These websites show phone numbers you can call and have online forms to fill out so you can choose whichever method you prefer. Keep in mind that the regulators are on the side of holding airlines accountable, but they are not law enforcement bodies. Therefore, this is not a guaranteed way to get your compensation.
3) Take Your Case to Court
If the first two steps don’t work, then the final step is to take your case to small claims court. First review your passenger rights to ensure you have a strong case before you waste your time or money taking the airline to court.
Even though you’re filing a claim in court, you don’t need a lawyer. Just be prepared with all the details mentioned above and make your case. The most likely cause of a lost case is if the airline proves that the disruption occurred because of an “extraordinary circumstance” beyond their control. Make sure the disruption that happened to you was one that could have been prevented.
How to File a Claim for Compensation with AirHelp
There’s no telling how long and arduous the steps for filing a claim could be – that will vary depending on the airline, the circumstances for the disruption, and the information you provide.
If you want to file a claim without the hassle, file your claim through AirHelp! All you have to do is submit your claim, enter the details of your flight, and sit back and wait while we do the rest. (We’ll even take the airline to court if it comes to that). We only get paid if you do.
Fight for Your Air Passenger Rights
Flight delays happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You may be entitled to as much as $680 in compensation if your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last three years.
After the devastating Asiana Airlines crash last weekend, many are now probably wondering: How do you sue an airline?
Fortunately, most legal claims against airlines do not involve horrific plane crashes or tragic deaths. They’re typically over more common, but still stressful and annoying situations like lost luggage, customer service issues, and problems that arise from delayed or missed flights.
So how do you take legal action against an airline? Each passenger’s situation is different, but here are some general pointers:
Check FAA Regulations
First, it’s important to first know your rights and whether your injury may have involved a violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. It will give you much more fodder if you can find a relevant regulation that applies to your injury.
In legal terms, an airline is considered a common carrier — an entity that’s in the business of transporting passengers or goods for a fee. Common carriers can potentially be held liable for passenger injuries, but only if the passenger can prove negligence.
Consider Small Claims Court
Chances are, your airline-related injury will fall into one of the most common types of airline complaints, such as lost baggage or customer service issues. In many cases, you may be able to resolve your issue with the airline directly.
If not, small claims court is ideal for these types of harms, because it allows you to sue without needing to shell out the additional money to hire a lawyer. Small claims disputes are resolved in front of a judge, and you will represent yourself.
As its name implies, there is a limit to small claims damage awards. It’s typically around $5,000, but the amount varies by state.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
If your injury is more serious and may lead to more damages than a small claims court can award, then you may want to consult an experienced aviation attorney. As airline injury claims can get complicated, you’ll want a lawyer who has experience in that field to help get your case off the ground.
Thanks to an arbitration clause in your Delta Airlines terms of service contract, you probably can’t sue the company in any court besides small claims court. It can be a complicated and time consuming process, but suing Delta Airlines in small claims court usually gets you what you want.
MAKE SURE YOUR CLAIM QUALIFIES FOR SMALL CLAIMS COURT
Are you ready to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court? Small claims courts are only for certain types of claims. The first step is to ensure you qualify to file a lawsuit in small claims court. There are two things you need to know:
- Theamount of money: Every small claims court sets a maximum dollar size for the claim you can bring. In most states it’s either $5000 or $10,000, but it can be as low as $2,500 (in Kentucky and Rhode Island). You can find a list of all 50 states’ monetary limits here.
- The type of relief: There are two types of awards that you can seek in a lawsuit – monetary (a dollar value payment) and equitable (a non-monetary request). Most small claims courts grant only monetary awards.
If your claim doesn’t fall within the limits of your state’s small claims court, you’ll have to arbitrate your claim instead.
SEND A DEMAND LETTER
Most small claims courts require that you ask the person you’re suing (the “defendant”) to fix your problem voluntarily before you file your claim. If you want to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court, you first need to send the company a demand letter.
A demand letter can be simple and straightforward. Tell Delta Airlines who you are (your name, address, phone number and account number), what the problem is, and what you want from the company. The whole letter can be just a few sentences.
When you’re done writing, you need to mail a hard copy of the letter, preferably as certified mail that allows you to confirm delivery of the demand letter, to their legal address. Delta Airlines is legally based in Delaware and receives mail at this address :
DELTA AIR LINES, INC.
CORPORATION SERVICE COMPANY
251 LITTLE FALLS DRIVE
WILMINGTON, DE 19808
If you would like examples of demand letters or more information about how to write them, refer to this helpful guide.
FILL OUT COURT FORMS
In order to sue Delta Airlines in small claims court, you’re going to need to fill out some paperwork.
Each state has a set of forms that need to be filled out to file a claim, and sometimes counties will request additional forms. The correct forms for your location will be available for free on your state court’s website.
Make sure you fill out enough forms. Most states that require you to file forms by mail or in-person will ask for 3 or 4 copies. If you don’t have the right number of copies, the court clerk will not accept your claim.
FILE YOUR COMPLAINT FORM WITH THE COURT.
When you’re done filling out the court forms, it’s time to give the forms to the court. This process can be a bit confusing.
A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.
He is the author of “Online Travel” (2000) and “Business Travel: When It’s Your Money” (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual “Best Travel Deals” series from Consumers Union.
Perkins’ advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com, a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.
Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country’s most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).
Perkins’ travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “This Week with David Brinkley,” “The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather,” CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.
Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.
Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.
Airlines sometimes act as if they were above the law—as if the basic principles of contract law didn’t apply to them—especially when consumers ask for cash refunds. Here’s a case in point:
“I had booked a flight on [[Allegiant_Air | Allegiant Air]] for October 2008 from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Chattanooga. About three weeks after I booked the flight, Allegiant notified me it was canceling service from Fort Lauderdale and I would have to fly from Orlando.
Orlando was not an attractive option: It is a three-hour drive from my home and I would also have the added expense of airport parking fees for four days. Then, after another two weeks, I was notified that the departure time for my return flight had been moved two hours earlier, which would make me miss my appointment in Chattanooga. Of necessity, I booked a replacement itinerary with a different airline. But Allegiant Air refuses to return the price of my original ticket. What recourse do I have against Allegiant to get my money back?”
The short answer: Presuming you’ve already exhausted the usual channels of appeal directly with Allegiant, your best approach is probably to file a claim in small claims court. From a contract standpoint, your claim should be a “no brainer,” and just filing a claim might well shake the airline into action. Here’s a bit more about the process.
‘Tell it to the Judge’
The Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Transportation (DOT) posts a useful guide for travelers who are unable to obtain satisfaction through an airline’s consumer office: “Tell it to the Judge, A consumer’s guide to small claims courts.” This is the best single source of information I know, and it explains the process in some detail.