• Brexit

What does Brexit mean for Airline passenger compensation?

With airlines threatening to move headquaters to another European location, 1000s of trade laws and legal regulations about to be examined and perhaps overturned – where does that leave the hapless UK traveller post Brexit? Flight Delay Director, Paul Davidson explains…

Aviation minister John Hayes recently refused to guarantee that the law enshrined in a regulation known as EU261 would remain in force after the United Kingdom have left the EU following the recent Brexit vote. The minister conformed that the rule that ensures that there is compensation available for passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled would certainly remain until Britain leaves the EU, but made it clear that he would avoid making any future commitments in that regard.

To start the ball rolling and actually leave the EU the government must serve a notice to quit under Article 50 which then gives the departing country two years to negotiate the terms of leaving the EU.

As a result, its still very much business as usual. Flight Delay Pay will  continue working on your flight delay claims.

Will passengers in the UK benefit from EU 261/2004 after we leave the European Union?

UK registered Airlines will lobby parliament to not sign up to EU261/2004 as this burden to pay compensation is a real problem. Airlines have large budgets and several staff to handle such claims. Without this financial pressure, will airlines do all they can to avoid delays or cancellations? My view is that such regulations rightly compensate passengers for late arrivals. To miss half a day of your holiday can be very disruptive. History has shown only through regulation will the airlines do all they can to maintain services.

There are countries who are not in the EU who have signed up to this legislation such as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The most sensible approach would be for the UK to join these countries and enact legislation so that we can continue to benefit from the legal obligation to pay compensation.

What does EU 261/2004 regulation currently mean to passengers?

If you leave the UK all flights are covered by this regulation. However, only those flights into the UK on an EU registered carrier are subject to this regulation. For example if you fly with Emirates from the UK you will be covered but not flying into the UK but if you had chosen to Fly with British Airways the regulations will apply in both directions.

For compensation to be payable on a late flight the flight must be at least 3 hours late. Compensation runs in three bands:

  • Up to 1,500kms – Eur 250 per passenger
  • 1,500 kms to 3,500km – Eur 400 per passenger
  • 3,500 kms and over – Eur 600 per passenger

Similar compensation is available for denial of boarding or late notification of flight cancellation or re-routing.

If the government decides not to sign up to EU261 will I lose my right to claim for historical claims?

This is most unlikely as laws are very rarely retrospective. Please note that Airlines are only liable to pay claims that result from their actions. They are under the regulations allowed to decline claims where they can invoke “Exceptional Circumstance”. Exception Circumstances is where Claim companies can help because often Airlines cite this excuse wrongly. Claims companies often help passengers to understand if an occurrence is exceptional.

So we are due to disengage ourselves from Europe but retention of many of the regulations seems to me a benefit for UK citizens and among them is the right to compensation should your flight be delayed by over three hours or cancelled.

My advice to potential claimants

As the current EU law stands, passengers whose flights were either cancelled or delayed by more than 3 hours in the past 6 years can currently make a claim for flight delay compensation.

However, as we are unable to anticipate exactly how the law may change post Brexit, we strongly recommend that you make a claim now rather than waiting.

Submit your flight details to check to see if you have a right to claim flight delay compensation of up to €600 per person! It only takes a minute! We charge just 20% commission against all successful claims – the lowest fee of all reputable Flight Delay Compensation Companies. www.flightdelaypay.com/start_your_claim