Consumer group wants airlines fined over flight chaos

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in recent days.

Neil Lancefield
Wednesday 13 April 2022 18:04
Airlines should be fined for ignoring passengers’ rights, a consumer group has claimed (Steve Parsons/PA)
Airlines should be fined for ignoring passengers’ rights, a consumer group has claimed (Steve Parsons/PA)

Airlines should be fined for ignoring passengers’ rights, a consumer group has claimed.

Which? called for aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority to be given “teeth” following travel chaos in the run-up to Easter.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in recent days due to airlines struggling to recruit and deploy new staff, and coronavirus-related absences among existing workers.

Lessons should be learnt

Rory Boland, Which? Travel

In some cases, airlines have been accused of failing to meet their responsibilities under consumer laws.

They should offer affected passengers a refund or re-route them as quickly as possible using other carriers if necessary, as well as provide adequate refreshments and accommodation.

Passengers may be entitled to at least £220 in compensation for flights cancelled less than seven days before departure.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Lessons should be learnt from the travel shambles this Easter.

“With many in the industry predicting a busy summer, the Government must work with airlines and airports to ensure they have the resources and capacity to handle increased passenger numbers, as there can be no excuse for a repeat of these failings.

“Airlines wouldn’t be ignoring the law and their passengers’ rights if the aviation regulator had some teeth.

“The Department for Transport can support consumers by equipping the Civil Aviation Authority with direct fining powers.

We recently consulted on a range of proposals aimed at protecting air passengers, including additional powers for the CAA to enforce breaches of consumer rights laws

Department for Transport spokesperson

“It should also drop its plans to change compensation rules for UK flights which are an important deterrent against passengers being treated unfairly.”

The Department for Transport is proposing to make the amount of compensation payable for heavily disrupted domestic flights capped at the air fare paid.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We recently consulted on a range of proposals aimed at protecting air passengers, including additional powers for the CAA to enforce breaches of consumer rights laws.

“We are reviewing responses from across industry, consumer groups and the general public, and will set out next steps in due course.”

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