The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today launched enforcement action against five major airlines, including Singapore Airlines (SIA) for denying passengers the compensation they are legally entitled to, for delayed flights.
The other airlines are American Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish Airlines.
CAA stated that these airlines face enforcement action, after a CAA review found each of the airlines to be breaching consumer law, noting that the airlines had confirmed to the CAA they do not pay compensation to passengers.
“The airlines’ refusal to pay compensation in these instances fails to meet the legal passenger rights requirements for flight disruption,” it stressed.
Under European rules, passengers are legally entitled to compensation if they arrive at the final destination of their journey more than three hours late – including if booked on a connecting flight – unless the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances. These rights apply to any flight departing an EU airport, regardless of the nationality of the airline.
CAA stressed that this is an important issue for passengers, as it estimates that over 200,000 passengers each year travelling on these airlines could be at risk of missing their onward connection and thereby being delayed by over three hours at their final destination.
However, it noted that Singapore Airlines currently places compensation claims for these delays on hold.
Richard Moriarty, Director of Consumers and Markets at the CAA, said, “Any disruption to a flight is frustrating for passengers, but delays that cause people to miss connecting flights have a particularly damaging effect on people’s travel plans. That’s why there are clear laws in place to make sure passengers that experience this type of disruption are looked after by their airline and compensated when the disruption was in the airline’s control. ”
“Airlines’ first responsibility should be looking after their passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers upholding their rights. So it’s disappointing to see a small number of airlines continuing to let a number of their passengers down by refusing to pay them the compensation they are entitled to,” he stated.
‘Where we see evidence of passengers systematically being denied their rights, we will not hesitate to take the necessary action to ensure airlines change their policies and their customers get the assistance they are entitled to,” the Director added.