Jet2 and Wizz Air passengers should ask to have flight delay and cancellation compensation claims reassessed, after the airlines have promised to improve how they deal with complaints following pressure from the regulator.
The UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today says the airlines have agreed to the following, after it threatened them with legal action:
- Jet2 has signed a legally binding document agreeing not to reject compensation claims for disruption caused by technical faults, and agreeing not to impose a two year time limit on claims. It will also proactively give passengers information on their rights during disruption.
- Wizz Air has agreed not to reject compensation claims for disruption caused by technical faults, but according to the CAA it's refused to look into compensation claims about flights that took place over two years ago. The CAA has now referred this issue to the Hungarian Authority for Consumer Protection (HACP), which it says has agreed to take on the case.
As part of this process, Aer Lingus has also signed a legally binding document agreeing to proactively give passengers information on their rights during disruption.
See our Flight Delays Compensation guide to see if you're due up to £420 per person, and help on how to claim including our new free online complaints tool.
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What does this mean for my complaint?
Here's what today's news means for claims:
- I've yet to submit a claim. New complaints can still be submitted as normal to the airline – see our Flight Delays Compensation guide for how to do this yourself for free.
- My claim's been rejected by the airline. If your claim's been rejected by Jet2 or Wizz Air because of a technical fault, or because it's about disruption that took place over two years ago, you should ask the airline to reassess it, although you may struggle if it now falls outside of the six year window for claiming. Wizz Air confirms it won't automatically reopen previously rejected complaints, and says it "is and always has been compliant with regulation EC261 requirements". Jet2 has yet to respond.
If the airline rejects your case, you can take it to either the CAA, another relevant regulator, or to the European Consumer Centre depending on your flight. However their decisions are not legally binding.
- My claim's been rejected by a court. If your claim's been rejected at county court level you have 21 days to appeal the decision, after this your time runs out and the case can't be reassessed.
Why has this happened?
The CAA first opened a consultation with Jet2,Wizz Air and Aer Lingus in March, following concerns that:
- Jet2 and Wizz Air were wrongly rejecting compensation claims for disruption caused by technical faults, despite the Court of Appeal (Jet2 v Huzar) ruling last year that airlines must do so.
- Jet2 and Wizz Air were imposing a two-year time limit for passengers to take compensation claims to court, despite the Court of Appeal (Dawson v Thomson) ruling last year that passengers should have up to six years to take a claim to court (five in Scotland).
- Aer Lingus and Jet2 weren't proactively giving passengers information on their rights during disruption, something airlines are required to do under EU regulations.
Is the CAA investigating other airlines too?
The CAA's initial consultation with Jet2, Wizz Air and Aer Lingus follows the findings of a six month review it conducted into the 15 airlines operating in the UK with the highest passenger figures, which covers over 80% of the UK's aviation market.
Since then it says it has carried out further investigations, which includes checking the validity of airlines' previous responses. It adds that it will "shortly announce" further action against airlines failing to comply with the regulations, although it wouldn't give us any further information on which airlines this refers to, or how they've been failing to comply.
The CAA is also currently undergoing a second review into the 16 airlines operating in the UK with the next highest passenger figures, after which, in total it will have looked at 90% of the UK's aviation market. The findings of this second review are expected to be published later this year.