Consumer protection is a big part of European legislation, and the airline industry is no exception. Airline passenger rights are protected by European Commission Regulation EC 261/2004, which establishes protective rules of assistance and compensation to passengers. Delays happen, and when they do, flight cancelations should be compensated.
Certain travel disruptions entitle air passengers to alternative options and compensation in a variety of cases such as delayed or cancelled flights, or overbooking; and Regulation 261 has created a network of rules to accommodate these passengers. Underpinning the regulation is a structure governing how airlines that are regulated, depending on whether they are licensed inside or outside the territory of a Treaty-applied Member State (basically, an EU-nation).
Nationality of Licensed Carriers
Regulation 261, while fairly encompassing, does contain coverage differences between air carrier territories, depending if they are EU-licensed, or non-EU carriers. While European carriers must offer compensation regardless of the flight’s origin airport, non-European carriers only need to compensate passengers originating from an EU airport. Naturally, such differences can be troublesome for international travels. Even transferred passengers face compensation difficulties.
What Will Happen to Passenger Rights if the UK Exits From Europe (Brexit)?
Understandably, passengers may be concerned about the UK’s exit from Europe – or “Brexit”, and what that means for passenger rights. Much ambiguity exists in the matter – especially since EU regulations are so tightly woven into UK law – some estimates say that 60-65% of UK legislation derives from EU law. This means that even if the UK does exit the EU, the transition won’t occur quickly, and a large grey area will exist regarding many laws while the “UK sovereign” versions are being worked out.
Likely, the UK will still want access to European markets, so they will need to “play nicely” with European authorities, even if they do exit. Moreover, they may need to conform to EU regulations within certain industries to maintain free market access. Because of this, it is possible that compensation rules will undergo incremental changes as part of the extraction process, and EU-established rules may still be relevant.
Meeting in the Middle: A Likely Outcom
Much of the regulation’s coverage cannot be undone overnight, as quite a few economic factors play a role in it. Regulation 261 provides an incredible amount of coverage that many passengers, Brits included, have come to rely on. Passengers are guaranteed adequate care while awaiting another flight, and such right aren’t easily rescinded.
What Can You Do Now?
Until the dust settles on the referendum, nothing changes, however there is still a veil of confusion that occurs as many airlines may choose to exploit passengers by neglecting to inform them of the possibility of compensation. Our advice: If you think that you might have a reason to claim for flight delay compensation, you should check with the refund.me claim calculator. Refund.me has a no-win, no-fee policy for pursuing flight compensation claims , and our claim calculator will be able to quickly tell you if you have a viable claim – whatever your airline may be telling you!