A demand to make low cost airline Wizz Air sharpen up its act over claims it has been failing passengers affected by flight delays and cancellations has been welcomed by industry experts.
The major airline has been taken to task by the Civil Aviation Authority following a spate of complaints that it wasn’t fulfilling its legal obligations to affected passengers. This includes claims of failing to reimburse expenses such as hotels and replacement flights, as well as failing to acknowledge court proceedings and judgements when it has been ruled in the passengers’ favours.
At Bott and Co, we welcome the crackdown, but more must be done to protect inconvenienced travellers.
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co says: “Flight delays and cancellations can have a major impact on travellers and cause frustration and inconvenience.
“When this happens, airlines have legal obligations on what they must do to protect passengers, including alternative travel and compensation in certain cases.
“We’re pleased the CAA is taking action against Wizz Air for the benefit of travellers, as we have dealt with so many unhappy passengers who feel they were let down by them.
“However, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the airline’s non-compliance with regulations to provide passengers with basic rights when their flight is cancelled or delayed.
“This year alone, we have had to instruct the High Court Sheriff dozens of times in order to force Wizz Air to finally pay up.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the airline’s non-compliance with regulations to provide passengers with basic rights when their flight is cancelled or delayed. This year alone, we have had to instruct the High Court Sheriff dozens of times this year in order to force Wizz Air to finally pay up.
“We will be watching developments closely and hope all airlines are reminded that they must meet their obligations to affected travellers when their plans are changed.”
The CAA has ordered Wizz Air to make changes to its procedures and policies to ensure compliance with its obligations. Under the regulation EU 261, airlines must follow rules on assistance and compensation for passengers affected by flight delays and compensation.
Passengers on flights shorter than 1,500km can claim £220 for delays of more than three hours. This can rise to up to £520 if the problem is not what is deemed as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’, and the flight is more than 3,500km and four hours late.
Mr Benson added: “Too many people don’t know their rights if airlines push back the departure time, or cancel the flight altogether, and therefore they could be missing out on hundreds of pounds in compensation.
“Impacted passengers can claim up to £520 if their flight is delayed more than three hours, and airlines have a duty of care to provide things such as refreshments and even overnight accommodation if the delay is long enough.
“You can always check with a flight compensation specialist to discover if you may be due a payout to make up for having to put up with the inconvenience during your well-earned break.”
Bott and Co has helped more than 634,000 passengers claim £76 million in delayed flight compensation since being founded in 2001.