Consumer Rights for Air Passengers

By | Category: Travel rumblings

For the past 40 years, it has been the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) that has been the body that has supposedly championed the rights of consumers. That has just been brought to an end. If you want to complain about an airline or an airport there is a new body to represent us.

Actually that’s not quite true. There are two new bodies but both still attached to the CAA, Civil Aviation Authority. If you want to complain then your comments should be directed to the Regulation Policy Group run by the CAA. The interest of passengers is now the responsibility of another part of the CAA, the Aviation Consumer Advocate Panel (ACAP) so what constitutes a complaint and what is an interest? That will become clearer, I hope, as the 6 month transitional period takes place. Up until then, messages to the AUC will get to the right place because they are all still in the same building.

It is tempting to wonder what the difference is other than, in marketing words, a rebranding and two sets of stationery, websites and nameplates instead of one? After all if the AUC was doing such a splendid job why alter it? And should two bodies representing the rights of consumers sit within the CAA which regulates airlines and airports? When the government announced the changes a while ago, it was because they saw the CAA as being the consumer champion. Unlike the AUC which produced few press stories, didn’t seem to have that many average passengers represented on it, wasn’t that widely known whenever we surveyed air passengers but diligently dealt with complaints will ACAP do any better?

Ask us in a few years time!

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