Travel companies want UK regulator to have power to fine airlines

Airport Generic
Airport Generic

Travel companies have written to the UK Government to ask them to give the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) more powers to fine airlines that don’t fulfil their obligations to passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled.

The joint letter was sent by loveholidays, On the Beach, Riviera Travel, and Thomas Cook along with the consumer group Which? urging Rishi Sunak to use the upcoming Kings Speech to introduce a bill to extend the powers of the UK regulator.

The move comes after thousands of complaints from customers about airlines not giving refunds, rejecting compensation and welfare claims, and leaving passengers to find their own accommodation or alternative flights.

Recently, low-cost airline Wizz Air faced enforcement action by the CAA when it was forced to relook at passenger welfare claims after the regulator said it had failed repeatedly to fulfil its obligations.

The Department of Transport has also recently recommended that the CAA be given the power to directly fine airlines.

Wizz Air UK A321neo
Wizz Air UK A321neo

So what are your rights?

If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled then you are entitled to compensation as follows.

Length of flightLength of disruptionsCompensation
short-haul flight of under 1,500km (e.g. Glasgow to Amsterdam)Arrive 2 hours or more later at final destination£220
short-haul flight of under 1,500km (e.g. Glasgow to Amsterdam)Arrive less than 2 hours later at final destination£110
medium-haul flight of 1,500km – 3,500km (e.g. East Midlands to Marrakesh)Takes off more than 2 hours before your original flight, and arrives 3 or more hours later at final destination£350
medium-haul flight of 1,500km – 3,500km (e.g. East Midlands to Marrakesh)Takes off 2 hours before your original flight, and arrives less than 3 hours later at final destination£175
long-haul flight of over 3,500km (e.g. London to New York)Arrive 4 hours or later at final destination£520
long-haul flight of over 3,500km (e.g. London to New York)Takes off less than 1 hours before your original flight, and arrives less than 4 hours later at final destination£260

Data from Civil Aviation Authority. All figures are per person.

In addition, Your airline must offer you an alternative flight. It’s up to you whether to fly as soon as possible or at a later date that suits you. Airlines often refer to this as being ‘rerouted’.

If you want to fly as soon as possible, your airline must also provide care and assistance while you wait for the flight. This means food, drink, communications and accommodation if you stay overnight.

If you don’t want to fly, you can get your money back instead. You’ll get a refund for all parts of the ticket you haven’t used.

For instance, if you have booked a return flight and it’s cancelled, you can get the full cost of the return ticket back from your airline.

If you’re part-way through a journey when it’s cancelled, your airline should also provide a flight back to your starting point.

About Nick Harding 1944 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.

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