Flight delayed? Baggage lost? An airline regulator thinks it should cost you £25 to further your complaint about your airline under the alternative dispute resolution’s new complaints system.
Under this new system air passengers could be charged £25 to complain to one of the aviation ombudsmen about lost luggage and delays if their complaint is unsuccessful. It’s a bold move that could deter many travellers from furthering a complaint about their airline.
But more than that, this new complaints system by the aviation regulator sets in place a muddled process that seems likely to confuse passengers.
Complaining about an airline
Previously passenger complaints that weren’t resolved by airlines could be escalated to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). However, any judgment made by the CAA was non-binding on airlines and some passengers would have to take civil cases to the courts.
Under these new complaints rules, airlines have been urged to sign up to CAA-approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) bodies. These ADR bodies will arbitrate on cases and set compensation, without forcing passengers to take court action. The bodies will cover denied boarding, delays, flight cancellations, damage to bags, lost luggage and problems faced by disabled passengers.
The problem is, to date, 20 major airlines — accounting for more than two thirds of passengers who fly in and out of UK airports — have signed up to three different complaints bodies.
We now have a voluntary system with multiple complaints bodies which is hopelessly muddled and confusing for passengers.
Paying to complain
Can they really make us pay to complain?
Yes. One complaints body, the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is now charging a £25 fee ‘if your complaint is 100% unsuccessful’.
While another, which is yet to get any airlines signed up, charges £10 that’s refunded to you if you win your case. And the two other bodies don’t currently charge a fee.
This unreasonable charge is placed on people who’ve already been delayed and may have had to pay out additional costs due to that delay. The concern is that this charge is likely to put people off making complaints, even when they have good cause to do so.
This new complaints charge is part of wider system changes to complaints procedures in aviation that we don’t think is adequate enough to respond to complaints. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to step in and introduce legislation for a single ombudsman that’s mandatory for all airlines to join.
So, what do you think, is this an adequate solution to improve complaints procedures for passengers? Would you be happy to pay to complain?
Would you complain about an airline knowing you risk being charged a fee for the complaint?
Maybe - I'd be more cautious about making a complaint (43%, 1,786 Votes)
Yes - I'd still complain (30%, 1,279 Votes)
No - I wouldn't complain if I risked paying for it (20%, 837 Votes)
Not sure (7%, 293 Votes)
Total Voters: 4,195