/ Travel & Leisure

Have you escalated a complaint against an airline?

Have you ever escalated a complaint against an airline for a delayed or cancelled flight through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme? What was your experience?

If your flight was delayed or cancelled, you might be entitled to compensation under the Denied Boarding Regulations.

The first thing you should do in such cases is contact the airline directly, and make it clear that you’ll be claiming compensation.

If your complaint is related to a flight to or from the UK, and the airline doesn’t give you a satisfactory response or fails to respond within eight weeks, you have the right to escalate your case to the ADR scheme your airline is registered to.

ADR bodies are third party complaint handlers who will assess your case and take a decision that is binding on you and the airline.

AviationADR and CEDR are the two complaint handling bodies operating in the UK approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the aviation regulator. Although membership is not mandatory, most airlines flying from the UK are registered to one or the other. 

Ryanair and Jet2 are among those airlines which are not, so if your complaint is related to an airline that isn’t registered, your only option is to complain directly to the CAA. However, unlike with ADR bodies, CAA’s decisions aren’t binding on the airline. 

Guide: how to escalate a complaint against an airline

Changes to ADR scheme rules are underway

The CAA is currently consulting on changing some of its rules for ADR schemes. It says these changes are intended to make complaint handling better for passengers and encourage airlines to join an ADR scheme.

The proposals will affect the way some complaints are processed and reviewed by the complaint handler and could, as a result, impact your experience as a consumer.

We’re keen to hear from you and share your stories in our consultation response to the CAA, which closes by 25 September. 

🔷 Have you recently struggled to get compensation from an airline for a flight delay or cancellation and had to escalate your complaint further to an ADR scheme or directly to the CAA?

🔷 What was your experience escalating the complaint?

🔷 What’s your view on the process and timeframe?

🔷 Were you satisfied with the outcome?

Let us know your stories below. If you would rather share your experiences more privately, contact us at conversation.comments@which.co.uk.


I have two County Court claims against airlines awaiting trial, one British and one Polish, with my credit card issuer as a second defendant under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. I am fed up with using ADR schemes and the Financial Ombudsman, who ignore relevant points of law and whose perverse decisions can prejudice subsequent court proceedings. Although courts sometimes likewise make perverse decisions, they don’t do quite so as blatantly and consciously.

With most people working from home and the courts conducting hearings via Skype for Business, now is the most convenient time to pursue litigation against airlines and other deficient businesses. Consequently I have issued court proceedings four times this year so far, no doubt with more to follow, thanks to plenty of expert advice from Which Legal Service.

Mercy O'Sefunmi R Enoch says:
21 September 2020

I am interested in knowing people’s experiences with court system in the UK. Is the court system favouring companies to individual?