The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued warnings to three major airlines – the British Jet2, the Hungarian Wizz Air and the Irish Aer Lingus – for their practices relating to flight delay compensation. The airlines have been warned of legal repercussions, in case they don’t modify their compensation policies.
It was found that the three carriers were not abiding to the consumer law while handling passengers during service disruptions. The airlines had not changed their policies in spite of a number of extensive discussions and warnings issued by the CAA in the past. All airlines need to pay flight delay compensation to passengers affected by the airline’s failure (due to technical faults) to maintain their time schedules, the regulators have specified.
The CAA found Wizz Air and Jet2 to be consistent in not only paying up their dues to their passengers, but also having their own version of the directives. The law clearly states that passengers can make claims on flight delay compensation for up to six years since the date of travel, but these carriers were allowing their passengers only two years to file their claims in court. The EU regulations are also specific about the information that has to be proactively provided to the passengers about the disruptions in the service, including their rights during such times. Jet2 and Aer Lingus were called out for ignoring the same.
The CAA has announced enforcement action against these airline companies. The authority also mentioned that if the companies fail to comply by the orders, it will have no choice, but to seek a court order against them. Not all of them, however, have taken kindly to the accusations of the CAA. Jet2 has strongly denied flouting any EU regulations and has issued a statement saying that the claims were ‘materially inaccurate’. The airline added that all its flight delay compensation claims are being paid out in line with the regulations and that it has proven the same to the CAA.
Jet2 also mentioned that the amount of compensation paid by it well exceeds the average cost of its ticket; the payout is up to 400 EUR, while the ticket costs are as low as 110 EUR. The two-year limitation on its passengers is due to contractual limitations and is well within court rulings, Jet2 clarified.
The aviation watchdogs carried out an extensive study for over six months and reviewed the policies employed by various airlines as tactics to work around the flight delay compensation laws. Most airlines are accused of disguising even ‘ordinary circumstances’ as ‘extraordinary‘. Several passengers are often left with no respite, as their claims seem to reach a wall, while sometimes they are just ignored. Senior executives of the CAA have said that airlines are well aware of the regulations for the amount to be paid, and that failure to comply by it is not acceptable.