Airlines Face Legal Action As They Breach Consumer Law

Major operators Aer Lingus, Jet2 and Wizz Air are facing legal action from UK regulator CAA.

While it should be a given that as a part of a smooth customer experience consumers receive the service and support from a company that they are entitled to, sometimes it is necessary for a regulator to step in to ensure that all requirements are met and no laws are breached.

This is currently the case in the aviation industry, where the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has enforced legal action against three airlines to safeguard the rights of millions of passengers.

The action against Aer Lingus, Jet2 and Wizz Air follows a six-month review of airline policies by the CAA in regards to supporting passengers during disruption, including their approaches to paying flight delay compensation and the provision of information about their rights.

The three airlines are required to make the changes set out by the CAA. If they don’t, they face the prospect of a court order.

The issues uncovered by the CAA are:

  • Jet2 and Wizz Air have failed to satisfy the regulator that they are consistently paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults, despite the Court of Appeal (Jet2 v Huzar) clarifying that airlines must do so;
  • Jet 2 and Wizz Air are imposing two-year time limits for passengers to take compensation claims to court, despite the Court of Appeal (Dawson v Thomson) ruling that passengers should have up to six years to take a claim to court;
  • Jet2 and Aer Lingus have failed to give satisfactory evidence that they proactively provide passengers with information about their rights, during disruption, in line with the requirements set out in regulation EC261.

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA, said that airlines are "well aware" of the support they must provide when there is disruption.

He added: "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.

"Our job is not done until all airlines can demonstrate they are providing care, assistance and compensation as required by law."

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer rights website Which?, said: "It’s good to see the CAA taking action against airlines that continue to let their customers down.

"We now expect the airlines to comply with the rules and stop shirking their responsibilities to customers. Passengers must be told their rights and helped to claim the compensation they’re entitled to."