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UK proposes flight compensation overhaul for domestic passengers

UK proposes flight compensation overhaul for domestic passengers

The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) is reportedly consulting on a proposal to change the airline compensation rules that were applicable as per the EC261 legislation for all European air passengers, for flights within the country.

As per the legislation, a payment of £220 ($295) was applicable for any cancellation, overbooking, or a three-hour-plus delay for a domestic flight to passengers, regardless of the fare they paid originally or the duration of delay, unless the airline proved of certain ‘extraordinary’ circumstances as the reason. 

Following Brexit, EC261 was transposed indiscriminately to the UK law, with only the conversion of currency of compensation to pounds from euros. 

A new plan has been proposed to make the compensation align with the fare that was paid and the length of the delay, as is for rail disruption. 

The overall effect will also cut the pay scale of compensation significantly, meaning; if a passenger has only paid £30 for a domestic flight, they will most likely not receive a compensation that is more than the fare they paid. 

Airlines, however, fear that compensations would become payable irrespective of the delay cause, getting rid of the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ clause, similar to what many train operators do; providing a refund even if the delay was caused by something beyond their control. 

It has not been cleared whether the duty of care, under which airlines are liable to provide hotel accommodation and meals in case of considerably long delays, will change. Details regarding the course of action on compensation for domestic flights that are part of longer international flight. 

Grant Shapps, UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, stated that the government is making the most of its Brexit dividend with its new freedoms outside of the EU, adding that the proposal will make the airline sector more trustworthy and reputable.

Shapps also announced a change in the alternative dispute resolution scheme so passengers would not have to go through legal channels to get their due compensation, and also granted greater powers to the Civil Aviation Authority for demanding improvements from airlines.

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Sunil Jha

Sunil Jha has been a part of the content industry for close to two years. Having previously worked as a voice over artist and sportswriter, he now focuses on writing articles for, across a slew of topics, ranging from technology to trade and finance. With a business-oriented educational background, Sunil brings forth the expertise of deep-dive research and a strategic approach in his write ups.