If we don’t have EU261

By | Category: Travel rumblings
If no EU 261 will complaints take longer to resolve? © Dan Sperrin

If no EU 261 will complaints take longer to resolve? © Dan Sperrin

In the UK and Europe we have compensation for delayed flights, cancellations and when you are bumped from a flight. EU261 is one of those European bits of legislation that helps protect the traveller when things outside their control go amiss.

The legislation isn’t perfect by any means. For example, it seems incongruous that an airline can be forced to pay compensation if flights are suspended due to volcanic ash. By and large it has been a boon for the traveller as you don’t need to contact a lawyer but just download a form and send it off to the airline or tour operator. If they fail to pay or argue you can still go to a small claims court or use one of the flight delay companies to retrieve your compensation.

But it isn’t available in most parts of the world. Will we retain a form of EU261 when Brexit occurs?

In Australia, a report from NSW Fair Trading (an arm of the state government) published the first Complaints Register for the preceding month which lists all those companies with more than ten complaints against them. The idea of the register is that, by making some complaints information public, it is “likely to provide an incentive for businesses to deliver better customer service.”

If you have a complaint you take it to NSW Fair Trading if you can’t resolve the problem with the airline or company concerned. The equivalent of the Consumers’ Association in Australia, Choice, says that 23% of passengers experienced a problem with a flight delay or cancellation in the last 12 months and that 63% of all consumers who experienced a flight delay or cancellation reported no assistance was provided by the airline.

This is what we might have to face. It is hoped that the British government would adopt a revised EU261 act but one a bit fairer to both sides otherwise we shall be back to the bad old days of relying on courts or alternative dispute resolution systems ( more of that later) to resolve problems.


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