Flight delay compensation and potential changes if we exit the EU.   

Under the current legislation EC regulation 261/2004, British travellers are entitled to compensation in the event of flight cancellations, flight delay compensation and denied boarding, yet some companies claim this would stop if we left the EU.  

Flight delay compensation

The £300 million estimated total loss in flight delay compensation per year was derived from the following statistics: each year, individual passengers are awarded around €350 (£274) in plane delay compensation and cancellations, and with an average of 150 passengers per flight, an estimated €52.5K (£41K) of flight delay compensation would be lost per flight each year.  The total projected loss of compensation per year for British travellers would be about €380 million (£300 million) yet this figure is highly inflated as a lot of passengers fail to reclaim their flight delay compensation and many claims fall at the first hurdle.

Thanks to the EC Regulation 261/2004 legislation, an estimated £2.7 billion in compensation has been made available to UK travellers since 2011.  But it is claimed this regulation will no longer be binding if the country votes to leave the EU.

However it is worth noting that Iceland and Norway, despite not being part of the EU, still adhere to the EC regulations and pay compensation for EU flight delays.

The European Common Aviation Area is already much wider than the EU and includes non-EU member states such as Norway and Iceland,” said Tony Tyler, the director general and CEO of IATA.  It is very plausible that Britain would remain within the Common Aviation Area, in which case nothing would really change.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “We don’t comment upon or engage in speculation. However…a Remain vote [to stay in the EU] will lead to more job creation, stronger economic growth, more foreign direct investment – and more importantly, even more low fares.”

It has been argued that the compensation levels are too harsh on the airlines and will push up fares; but if you suffer a delay your rights are enshrined in law due to the EU and it is unlikely this right will be revoked.

If Britain was to leave the EU they would still be entitled to flight delay compensation when departing from an EU airport.   

Airlines already make it extremely difficult for passengers to claim flight delay compensation and they don’t always provide appropriate care and assistance.   Some people expect this to potentially be worse if we left the EU, however based on the evidence from Norway and Iceland the aviation area would not be significantly affected and flight delay compensation would still be available in the majority of cases.  

An estimated 3.3 million British travellers departing from and arriving at UK airports experience flight delays of three hours or more and approximately 1.75 million of them are entitled to flight delay compensation.  Contact us today to reclaim your flight delay compensation.

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