Holiday flights could take 18 months to return to normal

Huw Merriman, the chair of the Transport Select Committee, called for immediate reforms that would entitle passengers to automatic compensation rather than placing the burden of filing a claim.

“It should be the airline’s responsibility, not the consumer’s, to claim compensation. Why would they have to bother filling out fiendishly complicated forms?” he said.

During the pandemic, passengers have struggled to get refunds from many airlines, as some airlines made it harder to access money but made it much easier to apply for a voucher instead.

Regulatory authority urgently needs the power to impose fines

Mr Merriman said airlines had a proven track record of being unreliable and inconsistent when it came to getting compensation for their customers. He said the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), “urgently needs fining powers so it can act as a consumer custodian.”

Currently, the CAA cannot directly fine airlines that consistently violate the compensation rules, but must take them to court. The Department for Transport (DfT) has just completed a consultation examining proposals to strengthen the CAA’s powers.

Lisa Webb, a which one? The consumer rights expert said: “Without the ability to impose fines or take swift action against airlines, the CAA is struggling to speak up effectively on behalf of the passengers it is designed to protect. Several airlines already know this, and without the threat of penalties, there is a real risk that some may feel empowered to break the law.” Holiday flights could take 18 months to return to normal

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