What could Brexit mean for flight compensations?
On 23rd June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union, changing the relationship between Britain and Europe for years to come. The current air passenger law protects air travelers against cancelled, delayed and overbooked flights but with Britain set to leave the European Union in March 2019, such rights will no longer apply to UK citizen meaning that millions of Brits travelling abroad after Brexit might find themselves confused whether they will get flight compensation after the Brexit day.
Brits currently have strong compensation rights under EU law for situations when a flight is cancelled or late due to the fault of the airline, for example if there was a technical fault, staffing issue, due to extraordinary issues or not having the aircraft in place.
Aviation minister John Hayes recently refused to give any guarantees that the law enshrined in a regulation known as Regulation 261/2004 would remain in force after the United Kingdom have left the EU following the recent Brexit vote. The minister conformed that the rule that ensures that there are flight compensations available for passengers when flights are delayed or cancelled would certainly remain until Britain leaves the EU, but made it clear that he would avoid making any future commitments in that regard. However, the Government suggested that EU passenger rights legislation will be retained in domestic law and they will not diverge from the current EU policy and informed that the UK will not fall below current standards of protection when we leave the European Union.
Will I be eligible for flight compensation after Brexit?
Before Brexit your rights are still covered by Regulation 261/2004 and you can take advantage from the air passenger rights for care and assistance during flight delays of more than two hours (depending on the distance of the flight) and for claims for flight compensation of up to €600 for delays of more than three hours (depending on the distance you have traveled).
If the government processes on with the process of leaving the EU then it will serve a notice to quit the EU under Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty and then have two years to negotiate its exit. During this time there are almost 6,000 laws and regulations from the European Union that will need to be adopted in the national legislation of the United Kingdom.
However, there are countries like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland whose are not members of the European Union but still have opt-in and signed up a deal with the European Union in order to take advantage and benefit from the legal obligation regarding passenger protection under Regulation 261/2004.
Will Brits be able to claim compensation if they fly to or from the United Kingdom?
The traveler rights will depend on UK government decision and there might be 3 different scenarios depending on how UK will implement Regulation 261/2004.
In case the UK government implements and adopts Regulation 261/2004 by signing agreement with the European Union, air travelers will benefit same travel rights as they had before the UK left the European Union. It means that UK would become in same position as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland in terms of travel rights.
If the UK government decides to revoke Regulation 261/2004, passenger will have the rights to claim the flight compensation of delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights only if the direction was from the country of European Union towards to the UK.
If the UK government decides to impalement in their national legislation a modified version of Regulation 261/2004, traveler could be entitled to claim flight compensation in certain circumstances including a delay, a cancellation or denied boarding. Air passenger rights might be weakened compared to Regulation 261/2004.
What does Brexit mean for the Airlines?
There could be a potential scenario that the Airlines will lobby the parliament of the United Kingdom to delay the process of establishing a national law regarding flight compensation as well as not to implement Regulation 261/2004 directive in the national legislation.
Flight claims is a heavy burden for many Airlines, as the Airlines act on calculated and large budgets and have full employed staff members who deal with claims, delaying implementation on flight compensation law would give short term advantage for the Airlines to save some capital because of the legal loophole.
Regardless of whether the Withdrawal Agreement can be approved or the United Kingdom ends up exiting the European Union without a mutual deal, one thing is sure: it will not be business as usual for airlines and travelers after March 29.
If your flight has been delayed or cancelled and you are not sure if you are eligible for compensation you can check it for free with us.
Since we work according to a “No Win- No Fee” policy, we would only receive our fee if we successfully claim your compensation on your behalf. We will not let the airline refuse your compensation without the necessary proof. Best of all, our 25% rate covers absolutely all possible expenses – claim your compensation and exercise your rights!
To check to see if you have a right to claim flight delay compensation of up to €600 per person! https://refundsky.com/claim-form/