MIAMI – British consumer group Which? has requested the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to introduce a single, robust, dispute resolution service. This comes as the group concluded that passengers’ rights have been “ripped up” by airlines that “consistently” flute the law.

Which? states that the CCA’s current proposal would lead to even less trust in the travel industry when there is a need for restoring it. According to the group, travelers have been several affected by canceled, delayed, or failed to arrive flights for over a year from the time they were let down. In other cases, passengers have had to pay to challenge airlines following the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) failures.

On its part, the CCA already proposed consultation changes to its ADR policy for complex and novel cases. The aim is to arbitrate disputes between airlines and customers by seeking compensation through the law. However, Which? said that new changes appeared to prioritize the airlines’ perspectives over passengers’ rights.

As a precedent, Ryanair (FR) had to pay £2.6m to passengers with suspended flights due to strikes in 2018. Instead, FR quit the ADR scheme and the CCA could not penalize the airline according to its limited powers. As a result, FR saved millions in unpaid compensation and passengers have not received any as of yet.

UK Civil Aviation Authority office at London. Photo: UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Concerns amidst Law Changes


Regarding the lawsuits, Which? Travel Editor, Rory Boland, said that passengers have not found support. Simply put, the current complaints system does not involve enough actions to reform the ADR scheme to work for them.

Boland added that he was concerned about an ADR flexibilization that concerns airlines. Through this mechanism, carriers could game the system by choosing the one that would deliver more favorable outcomes.

On the side of the regulation representatives, CAA Communications Director Richard Stephenson said that the authority is working on an alternative dispute resolution scheme. On that matter, the CCA has already received the response from Which?’ and said it would review its proposals to improve existing arrangements.


Featured photo: UK Civil Aviation Authority. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto. Copyright: honglouwawa.