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Nobody likes to experience a flight delay, especially when they are eager to start their holiday. And the last thing anyone with a delay wants to hear is that they are not getting compensated. Happily, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today launched enforcement action against five major airlines to help passengers get their due.
Under European rules, passengers who arrive at their final destination more than three hours late – excepting certain extraordinary circumstances – are entitled to compensation. This is aside from the rights that any good travel insurance should provide, with most policies covering missed and subsequently rebooked flights for non-personal reasons and even sometimes the bankruptcy of an airline.
The CAA estimates that over 200,000 passengers travelling from EU airports could be at risk of missing their connection and thereby being delayed by more than three hours every year. And yet not everyone who experiences such a delay is aware of their entitlement to compensation.
The CAA's complaints data shows that the most complained about airline for non-payment of compensation is Emirates. The other airlines facing enforcement action are American Airlines, Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
Of these, Turkish Airlines is the only one that gives passengers access to an Alternative Dispute Resolution service, which is designed to ensure quick, independent and binding decisions on disputes. The CAA is now calling on all airlines to commit to such a service.
Richard Moriarty, director of Consumers and Markets at the CAA, said: "Any disruption to a flight is frustrating for passengers, but delays that cause people to miss connecting flights have a particularly damaging effect on people's travel plans. That's why there are clear laws in place to make sure passengers that experience this type of disruption are looked after by their airline and compensated when the disruption was in the airline's control.
"Airlines' first responsibility should be looking after their passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers upholding their rights." So if you have flown with any of these airlines recently, or have endured a delay of three hours or more on any airline leaving from a European airport, you could be due compensation.
If you think you haven't received your due, the airline you flew with should have a complaints process stated on their website, or you could give them a call. If they are being unhelpful or slow, you are entitled to refer your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution service, which will provide impartial judgment.
Any complaint is bound to be given more weight if you've got a travel insurance company fighting your corner, and you'll also be insured against much more than just a flight delay. So why not use our comparison tool to find a suitable insurance policy before you take off on your next holiday, and/or use our Travel Insurance Star Ratings to guide the way?
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