Compensation for one-hour flight delays proposed by transport secretary

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has unveiled proposals to boost airline passenger protections and rights.

The UK government is consulting on the plans, which would enable passengers on domestic UK flights to claim compensation when their flight is delayed by more than one hour. Currently they have to have been held up for over three hours before being entitled to compensation.

The updated compensation model, based on that used by rail and ferry customers, would see a shift away from the current ‘set rate’ model.

Passengers would instead be able to claim compensation on a sliding scale based on the length of the flight delay and the ticket price.

The government is also considering making it mandatory for all airlines to be part of a dispute resolution scheme.

And there are proposals for airlines to provide wheelchair users and people with reduced mobility with the full amount of compensation for any damage caused to their wheelchair or mobility scooter during a domestic UK flight.

At present, airlines are not mandated to cover the cost of repairs, even if the device is damaged while in their care.

Shapps said that some of the proposals have been made possible due to the UK’s departure from the EU.

The plans were welcomed by Rocio Concha, director of Policy and Advocacy at consumer group Which?, who said:

“This consultation is a welcome first step that must improve and strengthen consumer rights and protections so that complaints are dealt with fairly and promptly, and that passengers receive the money they are due quickly and without unnecessary hassle.

“It is also vital that the system is backed up by a regulator with the powers it needs to take swift and strong action against any company that breaks consumer law.”