In the UK, about 1.3 million passenger journeys were delayed by at least 3 hours last year. This concludes Which? - the research arm of the British Consumers' Association - on the basis of an analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data.
The 3 carriers' delay rates are close to the industry average of 0.7% of total flights. This implies that more than 630,000 passenger journeys were severely delayed.
Depending on the duration of the delay and the distance flown passengers may be entitled to compensation based on EU Regulation 261/2004.
If passengers are delayed for 2 hours, the airline must offer them:
2 free emails or calls,
food or drink vouchers,
accommodation and transfers if required.
If they are delayed for 3 or more hours, travelers are also entitled to be paid compensation by the airline:
€250 for flights of 1,500 km or less,
€400 for flights between 1,500 and 3,000 km,
€600 for longer flights.
Airlines are only exempt from paying out if they can prove that the delay or cancellation was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’ such as extreme weather conditions or strikes at an airport.
But because strikes by the airline’s staff are within the carrier’s control, such as the Ryanair pilot strikes over summer, passengers are entitled to claim full flight delay compensation.
Interestingly, Which? believes that it is time for airlines to start automatically compensating eligible passengers for delayed and canceled flights. The argument is that the current process can be complicated and time consuming.
Although this is true, it seems very unlikely that carriers would agree to automatically credit compensation to travelers' accounts. Currently, they often do not even respond to claims passengers send them.
As many passengers give up in such cases it is an easy way for airlines to evade their legal obligations. But you can now sign Which?'s petition for automatic crediting of the legal compensation for flight delay or cancelation.
Tags: consumer rights, flight compensation, flight delays, travel rights