Airlines face court threat over customer servicesPosted: March 21, 2015
Three airlines are facing legal action over complaints about how they handle passengers hit by flight disruptions.
The Civil Aviation Authority said Ireland’s Aer Lingus, Britain’s Jet2 and Hungary’s Wizz Air have failed to change their consumer policies in line with its requests.
Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said passengers have “every right to be disappointed” by the trio.
The move follows a six-month review of passenger disruption policies.
It examined how airlines handle compensation for flight delays and offer information to passengers about their customer rights.
The CAA said it has launched enforcement action against the three airlines and will seek a court order unless they comply.
The allegations against the airlines are:
Aer Lingus and Jet2 have failed to give satisfactory evidence that they proactively provide passengers with information about their rights in line with the requirements set out in European regulation.
Jet2 and Wizz Air have failed to satisfy the regulator that they are consistently paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults, despite a Court of Appeal ruling clarifying that airlines must do so.
Jet2 and Wizz Air are imposing two-year time limits for passengers to take compensation claims to the court, despite a Court of Appeal ruling that passengers should have up to six years to take a claim to court.
Mr Haines said: “Airlines are well aware of the support they must provide when there is disruption and passengers have every right to be disappointed that a small number of airlines are not complying with the Court of Appeal rulings and continue to let people down in this way.
“Since the law was clarified last year, we have been active to ensure airlines are applying consumer law appropriately and I warmly welcome the response of those airlines that have changed their policies as a result of this work.”
A Jet2 spokeswoman told the BBC that the CAA’s announcement was “materially inaccurate” regarding the airline’s duties to compensate passengers for disruption.
The CAA has been reviewing how airlines compensate disrupted passengers
She said Jet2 was paying compensation for disruption in line with previous court rulings and that airlines “are entitled” to limit to two years the period in which claims are made.
She added: “No enforcement action has been taken. Given the misapprehensions of the CAA, Jet2.com expects that following the mandatory consultation process the CAA will not wish to take the matter any further.”
Aer Lingus spokesman Declan Kearney said the Irish airline was engaging with the CAA to address its concerns.
He added: “Aer Lingus’ procedures, relating to the provision of information to customers affected by operational disruption, are fully compliant with all the relevant regulations. We have provided a number of documents to the CAA in recent months to substantiate this point and we continue to engage with the CAA to address their concerns.”
Wizz Air spokesman Daniel de Carvalho said it is currently reassessing compensation cases.
He told the BBC: “The UK CAA is well aware that Wizz Air is re-assessing these cases and has confirmed to the UK CAA itself, some time ago, that it will apply the UK CAA’s own list of extraordinary circumstances in the relevant cases.”
He said that limiting the time within which claims can be raised to two years has been “upheld by the English courts”.
Sourced from BBC News