A new set of arbitration services that have been funded by the airline industry may charge passengers £25 for complaining about carriers that have signed up to the scheme.
So far, 19 airlines have registered with Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes which work to mediate between the passenger and the airline when things go wrong. This will cover, for example, disputes regarding flight delays and flight cancellations, damaged or missing luggage and compensation. The service will be available even if the passenger has already complained to the airline but does not feel they have received a satisfactory response.
At least one of the services – the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) – will charge £25 if a claim is 100% unsuccessful. If the case is won, the passenger will not have to pay the fee. The CEDR handles disputes for easyJet, Thomas Cook, British Airways and TUI.
In the past, passengers have been able to complain to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which offered a free mediation service. However, going forward the CAA will only mediate for airlines that are not registered with one of the Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes. The CAA has been very successful in the past, securing £17 million of compensation for passengers over the last three years. The Authority charges airlines £150 if a dispute is taken on by its complaints team.
Other providers of Alternative Dispute Resolution include the Retail Ombudsman (covering RyanAir, Flybe, Wizzair and Air Canada); Söp (a German service covering Lufthansa and Eurowings); and NetNeutrals, which is currently in talks with eight airlines. Of these, the first two are free for passengers to use, while NetNeutrals charges £10 – although this is refunded if the passenger wins their case. You can see a list of the airlines that each dispute service handles on the CAA website.
The difference between ADR and CAA
Even if the CAA rules in favour of the passenger, its ruling is not legally binding. The airline does not have to pay up, and the passenger will usually then have to approach a claims lawyer and take the airline to court.
However, airlines must follow the ruling of an ADR service.
What you can claim
Passengers can claim up to 600 euros if their flight is delayed by three hours or more. The exact amount depends on the length of delay and distance of the flight. Each passenger is entitled to claim, including children on a paid ticket.
You can find out more about the levels of compensation payable on our Flight Delay Compensation page, and our recent article on ‘Delayed flights, lost luggage and holiday illness – your rights’ explains other types of help you may be entitled to. [LINKS]
How to claim
Get in touch with our team to find out more about claiming for Flight Delay Compensation or other types of compensation in relation to your holiday. We can advise you on the likelihood of your claim being successful and the next steps that you need to take, get in touch on.