- the government launches a plan to strengthen the protection and rights of airline passengers, made possible by the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU
- new proposals to change the compensation processes available for delayed UK domestic flights and improve access to faster and cheaper dispute resolution
- comes amid calls for change from major airlines and consumer groups
Airline customers will find it easier to seek justice against unfair practices thanks to new proposals announced today (31 January 2022) by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Some of the proposals consulted were made possible thanks to the UKthe departure of the EU and our new ability to modify the rules established under EU regulations.
This includes considering the creation of a fairer compensation model for UK flights are delayed.
Based on the current compensation model used by rail and ferry customers, this will result in a significant change from the current “flat rate” model.
Passengers could instead claim compensation based on the length of the flight delay and linked to the cost of travel rather than having to meet a certain threshold – which is currently 3 hours late.
The government is also considering making all airlines part of the Aviation Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which would give consumers a route to escalate certain complaints that cannot be resolved between the consumer and the airline without having to go to court.
In the current configuration, there are 2 ADR suppliers in the UK and airlines can join voluntarily.
Under the new proposals, all airlines would have to join the scheme, giving customers access to this contentious route regardless of who they are traveling with. This could help people who are struggling to get refunds when they qualify.
The proposals also aim to strengthen the UK powers of the regulator to better protect the interests of consumers and airlines. As the UKthe aviation regulatory body, the Civil Aviation Authority (AAC) ensures that consumers are protected and treated fairly. Under the new proposals, they would have increased powers to enforce consumer protection law, for example, and could fine airlines directly for breaches, where appropriate.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
People deserve a service that puts passengers first when things go wrong, which is why I launched proposals today to strengthen airline consumer protections and rights.
We are making the most of our Brexit dividend with our new freedoms outside the EU and this review will help build a trusted and reputable sector.
Richard Moriarty, CEO of the UK AACnoted:
We welcome the government’s action to improve air passenger rights. This consultation is a clear indication of the need to strengthen our enforcement powers and align ourselves with other regulators.
The proposals will improve passenger rights and equip the Civil Aviation Authority with the right tools to act quickly and effectively for the benefit of consumers.
the ADR has helped thousands of consumers seek redress from their airline or airport and we welcome the proposal to bring more airlines into the system.
We will respond to the consultation in the coming weeks.
Plans also consult on airlines’ obligation to provide wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility with the full amount of compensation for any damage to their wheelchair or mobility scooter during a domestic flight. UK flight.
Currently, under rules inherited from the past, airlines are not required to cover the cost of repairs, even if the aircraft is damaged while in their care.
Rocio Concha, which one? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said:
For years, passengers have been let down by some companies in the travel industry, struggling to be heard or to get the compensation they are owed when things go wrong.
Travel confidence plummeted further during the pandemic when some airlines ignored their legal obligations and refused to refund canceled flights.
This consultation is a welcome first step to improve and strengthen consumer rights and protections so that complaints are dealt with fairly and quickly, and passengers receive the money they are owed quickly and without unnecessary hassle.
It is also vital that the system is backed by a regulator with the powers to take swift and strong action against any company that breaches consumer law.
Caroline Stickland, Director of Operations at Transport for All, said:
Having your wheelchair or mobility aid lost or damaged by an airline doesn’t just put a damper on your vacation. It can mean a complete loss of independence and mobility.
Much more needs to be done to avoid this, including fair recourse to compensation for passengers with disabilities.
We welcome these proposals and hope they will mark the beginning of further positive change in this area so that people with disabilities, regardless of their access conditions, can travel in safety and confidence when using airlines.