Wed. May 18th, 2022
London Heathrow T2. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

(01 Feb 2022)
 
The UK is currently looking at proposals
designed to make it easier for airline customers to receive fair
compensation when their flights are delayed, and to give
them more power when there are disputes.

Instead of the ‘set rate’ compensation model in
use today, passengers would be able to claim
compensation based on the length of the flight delay and linked to
cost of travel rather than having to meet a certain threshold –
which is currently a 3-hour delay.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said, “People
deserve a service that puts passengers first when things go wrong,
so I’ve launched proposals that aim to bolster airline
consumer protections and rights. We’re making the most of our Brexit dividend with
our new freedoms outside of the EU and this review will help build
a trustworthy, reputable sector.”

London Heathrow T2. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

London Heathrow T2. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

The government is also considering mandating all
airlines to be part of the aviation Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ADR) scheme, which would give consumers a route for escalating
certain complaints that cannot be settled between the consumer and
airline without needing to go to court.

In the current setup, there are two ADR providers 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 dispute route
regardless of who they fly with. This could help people who are
struggling to get refunds when they are entitled to them.

The proposals also aim to strengthen the UK
regulator’s powers to further protect both consumers’ and
airlines’ interests. As the UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil
Aviation Authority (CAA) works to ensure consumers are protected
and treated fairly. Under the new proposals, they would have
increased powers to enforce consumer protection law, for example,
and would be able to fine airlines directly for breaches where
appropriate.

Richard Moriarty, Chief Executive at the UK CAA,
said, “We welcome the action from the government to
improve the rights of air passengers. This consultation is a clear
indication of the need to enhance our enforcement powers and bring
us in line with other regulators. The proposals will improve passenger rights and
equip the Civil Aviation Authority with the appropriate tools to
act swiftly and effectively for the benefit of consumers. The ADR scheme has helped thousands of consumers
seek redress from their airline or airport and we welcome the
proposal to bring more airlines onto the scheme. We will respond to the consultation in the coming
weeks.”

The plans also consult on mandating that airlines
provide wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility with the
full amount of compensation for any damage caused to their
wheelchair or mobility scooter during a domestic UK flight.

At present, under legacy rules, airlines are not
mandated to cover the cost of repairs, even if the device is
damaged while in their care.

Caroline Stickland, Chief Operating Officer at
Transport for All, said, “Having your wheelchair or mobility aid lost or
damaged by an airline doesn’t just put a damper on a holiday. It
can mean a total loss of independence and mobility. Much more needs to be done to safeguard against
this, including fair recourse to compensation for disabled
passengers. We welcome these proposals and hope they mark the
start of further positive changes in this area so that disabled
people, whatever their access requirements, can travel with
security and confidence when using airlines.”


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