Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Airlines told to compensate passengers for flight delays

Five major airlines have been criticised by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for failing to compensate passengers for flight delays.
American Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines confirmed to the CAA they do not pay out when customers miss connecting flights in Europe and arrive at their final destination more than three hours late due to delays on the first leg of a journey.

But under EU consumer rules, passengers are legally entitled to compensation unless the delay is due to extraordinary circumstances - and a number of legal cases against airlines have narrowed the number of situations in which that designation can apply.

The regulations apply to any flight departing from a European airport, regardless of the nationality of the airline or whether the journey is a leg of a longer trip.

Passengers can claim €250 (£211) for delays of more than three hours on short-haul flights, €400 (£338) for medium-haul journeys and up to €600 (£506) for long-haul flights depending on the length of the delay.

Richard Moriarty, director of consumers and markets at the CAA, said that delays which impact connecting flights "have a particularly damaging effect on people's travel plans".

"That's why there are clear laws in place to make sure passengers that experience this type of disruption are looked after by their airline and compensated when the disruption was in the airline's control," he said.
"Airlines' first responsibility should be looking after their passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers upholding their rights.

"So it's disappointing to see a small number of airlines continuing to let a number of their passengers down by refusing to pay them the compensation they are entitled to.

"Where we see evidence of passengers systematically being denied their rights, we will not hesitate to take the necessary action to ensure airlines change their policies and their customers get the assistance they are entitled to."

The CAA has now launched enforcement action against the airlines and has pledged to take the companies to court if they do not start obeying EU law.

The airlines could face unlimited fines if the crackdown ends up in court.

SKY   News.