By Daniel Morley
UK Airlines May Face Pay Out for 1 Hour Delays
Under proposed rules in the United Kingdom, airline passengers on domestic flights may receive compensations for flight delays of an hour, according to the BBC.
Currently, the country still follows rules from the European Union, in which airline passengers are only entitled to compensation for a delay if the delay extends beyond three hours. The new law in the U.K. would introduce a tiered compensation system for delayed passengers based on the length of the delay. The structure of the compensation offered is similar to already existing models on the U.K.’s railways and ferry systems.
Passengers on flights under 1,500 kilometers are entitled to £220 for flight delays of three hours. With the country leaving the European Union a few years ago lawmakers are looking to create new laws independent of previous rules from Brussels. The country’s lawmakers are also looking at giving the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) more power to enforce consumer laws and in turn, give air carriers fines for breaches.
Compensation Based on Ticket Price
The new tiered system for domestic flights will see passengers able to claim up to 25% of their ticket price for delays between 1 hour and 2 hours, 50% of their ticket price for delays of more than 2 hours and less than 3 hours, and 100% of their ticket price for delays of 3 hours or more.
The new laws are still being discussed and compensation could be changed if a final deal on new rules is made. The new regulations would also require airlines to sign up for the alternate dispute resolution scheme, which helps travelers claim compensation without going to court.
Lawmakers developing the new regulations are also looking to give those in wheelchairs more compensation when things go wrong. Proposed rules would require airlines to pay the full amount for a broken or damaged wheelchair. Currently, airlines are only obligated to pay £1200 for damage to people’s belongings, while some wheelchairs can cost tens of thousands of pounds.
Another objective of the new proposed regulation is to give the Civil Aviation Authority, the regulator for aviation in the United Kingdom, more powers to fine airlines for breaches of consumer laws.
No details on the amount or types of fines that airlines could pay under the power given to the CAA. Consumer confidence in airlines plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic as airlines refused to pay out to passengers for canceled flights. New laws, aimed at giving regulators more power to enforce breaches of law, could help to restore some of this consumer confidence. Representatives for Airline UK, a body that represents the airlines, say they will be responding to the proposed changes but add that all their airlines try to ensure the most enjoyable and smoothest experience for the consumer.