Airline passenger fee to complain

Photo: Matthew Hurst
Photo: Matthew Hurst

Airline passengers could be charged £25 (€29) for making a complaint against an airline under new UK aviation rules, replacing a system whereby the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) used to mediate between passenger and airline when the former was not satisfied with dispute resolution.

Due to a scaling back of services, the CAA will now only get involved with those airlines not registered with an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.

Nineteen airlines have so far registered for the scheme. However, one of the services, the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), will impose a £25

(€29) charge on the customer if their case is unsuccessful.

British Airways, easyJet Thomson and Thomas Cook are all signed up to the CEDR service.

An easyJet spokesperson told MailOnline: “easyJet, like other airlines, uses a CAA approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) company, who are also the designated company by the Department of Transport to handle air travel complaints, to offer dispute resolution services as an alternative to a court process. easyJet’s current ADR was chosen based on its competence and suitability to provide alternative dispute resolution procedures for us. This is a service easyJet pays a higher fee for than other ADR’s charge.”

A customer can lodge a case with the ADR if they feel their complaint to the airline has not been resolved correctly. Previously, the CAA would mediate between customer and airline in disputes concerning flight delays, cancellations, missing or damaged luggage, and compensation.

The aviation authority has, however, pointed out that their rulings are not legally binding, and should the airlines refuse to pay, the customer often has to pursue their case through the courts.

The new CAA-approved ADR bodies provide passengers with a legally binding decision on their complaint.

The Sunday Times reports there are three other ADR scheme set up. The Retail Ombudsman will be used by Flybe, Ryanair and Air Canada and does not charge customers to use the service. Eurowings and Lufthansa have signed up to Germany company Söp, and this will also not levy a fee on the claimant.

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