28 MARCH 2022
© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.
Plans to reform refund rules for passengers taking flights in the UK could slash average compensation and weaken a deterrent against delays and cancellations, according to consumer group Which?
Under existing EU261 rules, a passenger on a domestic flight in the UK can claim £220 once their flight has been delayed by three hours.
However, Which? estimates that the system proposed by the government could save airlines tens of thousands of pounds for a single flight, while compensation would drop to just over a quarter of the current amount as the average sum eligible to each passenger drops to just £57.
The government is considering scrapping this and offering compensation based on ticket price and the length of delay instead – similar to the system used by railways.
Which? said it was concerned that if adopted the plan may set a precedent that could weaken passenger compensation rights and incentives for airlines to avoid flight disruption for travel throughout Europe and further afield.
It is calling on the government to reconsider its proposals on compensation and instead increase enforcement in a market which has seen “persistent law-breaking” by airlines over many years.
Which? is backing separate proposals in the same consultation to grant administrative fining powers to the Civil Aviation Authority and make it mandatory for airlines to join the Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) scheme.
It says a statutory-backed ombudsman in aviation should be introduced to administer this.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
David Starkie, United Kingdom
I am surprised that the CA is campaigning on this issue without mentioning that the proposals are more environmentally sustainable than EU rules. At the moment airlines are deterred from cancelling lightly loaded flights because of the potential compensation bill. If average load factors increased emissions per person km. would decline. Besides, EU rules on aviation are overly generous vis rail etc.