According to a new UK Government report, passengers flying from the UK may get to enjoy better flight cancellation and delay compensation after Brexit.
Brussels is considering bringing forward updated proposals that will reduce payout amounts and increase the compensation threshold. Suggestions include reducing payout for short-haul flights by 50% and raise the compensation threshold for long-haul flights by 3 hours. Currently, the threshold is set at 9 hours.
UK Sticks to Original Regulations
The UK government, however, has stated that it will not move away from the current EU regulations after announcing that it would develop its aviation sector to prioritize passenger needs. In a report named ‘Beyond the horizon: The future of UK aviation’, it has been mentioned that the UK would work towards maintaining the current standard or protection offered to UK flyers even after it leaves the EU.
The report also stated that the government is interested in pursuing a debate on how compensation schemes should be designed with customer interests as a priority.
The government will look at the means available to boost claim rates. This could include more stringent enforcement of certain rules such as the one requiring airlines to inform passengers about their entitlement to compensation.
There will be a renewed focus on improving the compensation schemes as well. The key goal will be to ensure that passengers are properly informed of their rights. Different avenues for regulation enforcement will also be looked at.
For instance, automatic payout and on-board announcements are some of the ideas that will be explored.
As of now, passengers flying from EU or landing in EU are eligible to claim compensation for cancellations, delays, and boarding denials. The EU regulations state that passengers can claim anywhere from 250 Euros to 600 Euros, depending on the exact circumstances surrounding the delay or cancellation. The exception to this includes delays or cancellations caused by extraordinary circumstances i.e. circumstances beyond the control of the airline. This typically includes bad weather or strikes.
UK Passengers to Enjoy Better Rights
Passengers departing from UK will enjoy better rights since the current regulations will still be applicable here.
Airline UK stated that it would continue supporting the idea of providing consumers with the same rights even after the UK exits the European Union. However, some experts, such as Emma Coulthurst are stating that having the same rights wouldn’t be enough. They believe that the present passenger rights need to be enforced in a better manner.
Claiming compensation in the UK can be quite hard. Experts like Coulthurst want processes and procedures to be simplified. She suggests ideas such as getting airlines to contact flyers and informing them about their eligibility for compensation. She even suggested getting air pilots to announce compensation eligibility on the flight. However, she referred to the latter suggestion as “wishful thinking”.
Airlines have often voiced their opinions against compensation regulations, calling them too stringent. Many of them already pay several million pounds as compensation every year. They claim that exorbitant compensation payouts only cause fares to go up and shut down non-profitable routes.