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Air passenger compensation

Published Monday, July 6, 2015

This paper explains the compensation rights of airline passengers in the event of denied boarding, delay and cancellation; lost and damaged baggage; and death or bodily injury.

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This paper explains what compensation is available to passengers under EU legislation where they have been denied boarding or suffered flight cancellations or delays. It does this in the light of recent legal judgements and the European Commission’s attempts to update the relevant Regulation which sets out passenger rights and how they apply.

It also sets out air carrier liability under the Montreal Convention for death or bodily injury and lost or damaged luggage.

Since the EU legislated to provide a comprehensive system of air passenger rights in 2004 increased awareness of those rights and the ability to complain and appeal has led to a significant increase in the number of people doing so. This has been supplemented by a number of court cases which have ruled on the circumstances in which airlines must pay compensation; appeals against some of these judgements have meant that some airlines have been reluctant to pay out compensation until the legal position is absolutely clear. The CAA takes the view that the position is clear, that payments should be made and is taking action to require enforcement by some airlines.

The international Montreal Convention came into force in the UK in 2004 and is intended to replace other international agreements on air carrier liability that have been in place, in some cases, for over 80 years.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the responsible UK body for providing advice in this area.

Information on the cost of air travel (fares, charges, taxes etc.) can be found in a separate briefing paper (CBP7211). This and information on other aviation-related matters can be found on the Aviation Topical Page of the Parliament website.

Commons Briefing papers SN00233

Author: Louise Butcher

Topics: Aviation, Consumers, Taxation

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