Worldwide passenger rights specialist refund.me has gathered Europe-wide statistics showing that British passengers suffer some of the highest flight delay rates in Europe and could claim up to £185million in compensation from airlines each year.
The company, which helps airline passengers from more than 110 countries claim compensation under EU legislation for delays, cancellations, missed connections and overbooking, estimates that more than 575,000 UK passengers a year are eligible to claim.
Across Europe, more than two million passengers are entitled to claim compensation worth more than £660million from airlines for flight disruptions. Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Heathrow and Istanbul Ataturk are the continent’s airports that have suffered the most delays over the busy holiday month of August, followed by Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris Orly, according to data available on Flightstats.com
The UK’s Manchester airport also figures in the top ten, as do Brussels and Zürich. With regards to cancelled flights, Heathrow tops the list ahead of Frankfurt, Charles de Gaulle and Lisbon. Vienna, Berlin Tegel and Dusseldorf follow closely behind, followed by Rome, Barcelona and Amsterdam.
All flights that leave from an EU airport, regardless of airline or destination, are covered by EU Regulations EC 261/2004 which guarantees eligible passengers compensation of up to £490 (€600) for disruptions. Likewise, passengers entering the EU on flights operated by EU carriers are also covered.
Despite this clear legal framework, airlines continue to create obstacles and make the process as difficult and bureaucratic as possible, according to the company, with airlines often hiding behind a variety of ambiguous excuses to avoid paying out affected passengers, among them ‘severe’ weather conditions and unspecified ‘technical issues.’