Rising airline passenger complaints force worldwide legislators to take action

Nikoleta Dodova is among a growing number of dissatisfied airline customers, who are waiting for compensation after their flight was cancelled and they ended up at an airport over two hours away. Rising numbers of disputes between travellers and airlines globally are driving fresh legislation and calls for tougher enforcement of existing rules to protect consumers. 


Airlines fear a mish-mash of conflicting rules and want those responsible for services out of their control to help shoulder the compensation costs. Canada is promoting shared accountability by providing new access to performance data that airlines can use when negotiating service agreements with airports. Traveller complaints are clogging courts and regulatory agencies in Germany, Britain, Canada and the U.S., with 46% more complaints than pre-pandemic.

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In Sweden, Dodova is owed 800 euros compensation from Hungarian budget carrier Wizz Air. In Germany, the arbitration board at the Federal Ministry of Justice is dealing with 46% more complaints than pre-pandemic. The Department of Transportation (DOT) saw airline passenger complaints rise 55% in 2022, and the Canadian Transportation Agency has a record backlog of 47,000 complaints. 

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In Europe, intermediaries like AirHelp have boomed in popularity, with active claims three times higher in 2022 than in 2019. The European Union has long enraged airlines with its consumer protection legislation, offering payouts of up to 600 euros for delays of three hours or more, and the cost of air travel in Canada could rise due to new fees and compensation requirements.

Source: Reuters - edited by Aero-New Journal

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