News: Delays set to cost airlines dear

Passengers win new compensation rights; personal debt levels increase; Avon to enter the financial services market

If you find yourself bumped off a plane because of overbooking or the cancellation of your flight, you'll now qualify for more generous compensation than in the past.

If you find yourself bumped off a plane because of overbooking or the cancellation of your flight, you'll now qualify for more generous compensation than in the past.

Under European Union rules that came into force on Thursday, passengers using European airports and airlines have been given improved legal rights - the most important of which is recompense for poor service. Depending on your destination, payouts will range from €250 (£170) to €600 (£415).

For example, a passenger unable to board a plane as booked would be eligible for compensation of €250 if his flight was on a route of 1,500km or less.

These new rules apply to all scheduled and commercial flights, including budget airlines - where the cost of compensation is likely to be greater than the cost of the ticket.

Previously, scheduled flight operators would have compensated passengers, in cases of overbooking or cancellation, with payouts of between just £80 and £170, depending on circumstances.

Under the new rules, if your flight is delayed for more than two hours, you will be entitled to free meals and phone calls, as well as accommodation if the situation requires it. A delay of more than five hours qualifies you for a full refund on your ticket, as well as a free flight home if appropriate.

Difficulties may well lie ahead, though.

Airlines won't have to cough up compensation if a flight is cancelled for "extraordinary" reasons outside their control, such as bad weather or airport security alerts. This has sparked fears that, under such circumstances, airlines could choose to cancel instead of delay a flight, since the overall cost to them could be cheaper.

Deeper into debt

People calling for help on the hotline of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) last year had average debts of £26,800, the charity reports.

This 8 per cent rise on 2003 - representing roughly £2,000 per person - could be down to rising interest rates, according to Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of the CCCS.

"We are concerned by the rising burden of debt," says Mr Hurlston. "The number of calls to the CCCS increased by over a third last year.

"People in difficulty are coming to us sooner - but they come heavily burdened."

In the first week of January this year, the charity took more than 1,000 calls a day for the first time since the hotline was established - a pattern that has since continued.

About one in 10 callers go from a tentative enquiry to an in-depth counselling service (both free of charge), before going on to draw up a debt management repayment plan tailored to the individual. At this last stage, the CCCS will take a small commission from the debtor's monthly repayments to cover administrative costs.

Avon gets a makeover

Lipstick, perfume, soap... insurance? Cosmetics company Avon could soon be adding life and car cover to its basket of goodies as part of an expansion plan.

Details remain at an early stage, but Avon's 20,000-strong recruitment drive is expected to include a move into the UK financial services industry.

Avon is one of just a few large companies that still sell products door-to-door, relying on women selling to women at home during the day.

Salesmen from financial firms used to be a regular sight on British doorsteps, but the rise of cheaper telephone, direct mail and internet marketing put paid to that.

Fifteen years ago, it is estimated that some 200,000 agents sold door-to-door insurance; the figure today is no more than a few thousand.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate