Compensation for delayed or cancelled flights totalling around £240 million was failed to be claimed by passengers last year, according to passenger rights specialist refund.me.
Although the figure seems large, it’s much lower than the £355 million left unclaimed in 2012 and is due in part to improvements made by airlines to keep delays under the limits that would trigger compensation payments, plus more passengers being aware of their rights.
The no win, no fee firm helps eligible passengers fight for compensation under EU Regulation EC 261. Since 2004, passengers have been entitled to claim compensation of up to £490 for late cancellations or flights or delays of more than three hours, other than due to circumstances beyond airline’s control.
Refund.me founder and CEO Eve Buechner commended improvements made by airlines: “After nearly a decade of citing poorly justified “extraordinary circumstances” to avoid compensation payments, airlines appear to have turned the corner on both service and post-service quality,”
“Some airlines now have more aircraft on standby or move to pre-emptively smooth things over with passengers by offering vouchers, miles and accommodation more willingly.”
However, Buechner warned that all this progress could be put in jeopardy when a planned review of EC 261 by the European Parliament considers whether passengers should not be entitled to compensation of less than five, seven or 12 hours.
“This would effectively nullify the progress made in the last few years and set passenger rights back to their standards of 10 years ago,” she said.
“The airline industry has made significant progress in improving passenger rights in the last two years. Passengers are more aware of their rights and airlines have become more compliant and offer better service as a result. It would be disappointing to undo this progress. It would lead to more delays, more cancellations and more stranded passengers.”
Refund.me processed more than 10,000 compensation claims last year, totalling more than £3.3 million, and claimed a 94% success rate.