The UK currently uses the European Union’s EU261 rule, meaning passengers on short flights can claim £220 for delays over three hours, but nothing for shorter delays
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More passengers will receive compensation for delayed domestic flights according to plans announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The minister proposes to entitle travelers to payouts for flights within the UK that arrive at their destination more than an hour late.
The UK currently uses the European Union’s EU261 rule, meaning passengers on flights less than 1,500 km (932 miles) can claim £220 for delays of more than three hours, but nothing for shorter delays.
As a result of new powers as a result of Brexit, the government is considering replacing this system with a model similar to that of rail and ferry companies, linking reimbursements to travel costs.
Under the Department for Transport (DfT) plan, which is under negotiation, passengers are entitled to:
- For a delay of more than an hour but less than two hours – 25% of the ticket price
- For a delay of more than two hours but less than three hours – 50% of the ticket price
- In case of a delay of more than three hours – 100% of the ticket price
The DfT did not specify in which categories delays of exactly two and three hours would fall.
Airlines do not pay compensation for disruptions caused by events beyond their control, such as extreme weather, safety warnings and limited air traffic control operations.
Other proposals to protect passenger rights include requiring airlines operating in the UK to join an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, which will allow more people to get the refunds and compensation where they are entitled. finished.
ADR programs have helped thousands of passengers escalate complaints without going to court, but carrier membership is voluntary.
The government is also considering giving the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) more power to enforce consumer laws by directly fining airlines for violations.
Mr Shapps said: “People deserve a service that puts passengers first when things go wrong, so today I launched proposals that aim to strengthen airlines’ 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 reliable, reputable industry.”
Tim Alderslade, CEO of airline Airlines UK, said airlines are “working hard to ensure the passenger experience is as smooth and enjoyable as possible”.
His organization will respond to the consultation.
CAA chief executive Richard Moriarty said the plans are a “clear indication of the need to strengthen our enforcement powers and align us with other regulators”.
He added: “The proposals will improve passenger rights and equip the civil aviation authority with the right tools to act quickly and effectively to the benefit of consumers.”
Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at consumer group Which?, said trust in travel agents “diminished” as the coronavirus pandemic began, as some airlines “ignored their legal obligations and refused to pay refunds for canceled flights”.
She continued: “These consultations are a welcome first step to improve and strengthen consumer rights and protections, so that complaints are handled fairly and promptly and passengers receive the money they owe quickly and without unnecessary hassle.
“It is also vital that the system is backed by a regulator with the necessary powers to act swiftly and forcefully against any company that violates consumer law.”
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Mr Shapps also proposes requiring airlines to pay the full cost of repairing or replacing wheelchairs and scooters that are lost or damaged on domestic flights.
They are currently only required to pay passengers up to around £1,200 for damage to or loss of their belongings under the terms of the Montreal Convention, although some wheelchairs cost upwards of £25,000.
Caroline Stickland, chief operating officer at the disability group Transport for All, said preventing someone from using their wheelchair “could mean a total loss of independence”.
She continued: “Much more needs to be done to protect against this, including a fair claim for compensation for disabled passengers.
“We welcome these proposals and hope they mark the beginning of further positive changes in this area.”