Transport Secretary sets out protections for passengers with new aviation charter

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(Last Updated On: July 18, 2022)

The Government has published a new Aviation Passenger Charter, developed by Government, industry, consumer and disability groups in partnership, outlining what passengers can expect if confronted with flight delays and cancellations this summer.

The Charter has been designed to give passengers the confidence they deserve as they head for their summer holidays, and follows last month’s publication of the Government’s 22-point plan to help the industry minimise disruption at airports and ensure holidaymakers and travellers can enjoy their well-deserved breaks.

The new Aviation Passenger Charter will act as a one-stop shop so passengers know their rights for their entire journey – from booking, travelling to and through the airport, during the flight and returning to the UK. It outlines what aviation passengers can reasonably expect from airlines, travel agents, tour operators and airports, and what do if things go wrong. This includes advice on what to do if as flights are cancelled or delayed, or if baggage goes missing, as well as guidance on how to complain if passengers feel they have been treated unfairly. The Charter will be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains as useful as possible for passengers, both over the busy summer period and beyond.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“Passengers deserve reliable services, and to be properly compensated if things don’t go to plan, and the chaotic scenes we’ve seen at airports are unacceptable.

“The new charter will help to give UK passengers peace of mind as they enjoy the renewed freedom to travel, whether for holidays, business or to visit loved ones.

“Our passenger charter builds on our 22 point plan to support the industry in backing holidaymakers and keeping disruption to a minimum this summer.”

Disabled passengers and people with reduced mobility must receive the best possible service, and to be treated with respect and dignity so that aviation is accessible to everyone who wants to fly. The Charter will ensure that disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility have immediate access to information about their rights and what to do if things go wrong.

The Government will soon announce its response to its consumer policy reform consultation, which will outline how, together with industry and the aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority, it will bring real change for everyday aviation passengers.

Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
“It is important that we at the Civil Aviation Authority and wider industry continue to work together in the interests of consumers.

“A part of that is how we improve the information they receive and making sure it is clear and concise to help support and improve their overall travel experience.”

Earlier this month the Government announced that mandatory aviation sector national security checks are being processed in record time, supporting the industry as it works to rapidly fill vacancies in the face of heightened demand for flights this summer.

97% of Accreditation Checks are being completed in around 5 days on average, with Counter Terrorist Checks (CTC) in the aviation sector being processed in under 10 days on average. This is a reduction from the 20-day average turnaround for CTC checks in March, before the priority measures for aviation sector applications were introduced.

Last month the Government announced a one-off ‘amnesty’ on airport slot rules, enabling airlines to plan ahead and avoid last-minute cancellations. This was provided as an exceptional measure while industry makes progress in recruiting necessary staff.

The measures are part of the Government’s 22-point plan to help ensure passengers don’t face a summer of disruption, as it called on the industry to do everything within its power to ensure there is no repeat of the problems experienced at Easter and half term.

It sets out all of the measures the government is taking to support the aviation industry, including to help recruit and train staff, ensure the delivery of a realistic summer schedule, minimise disruption and support passengers when delays and cancellations are unavoidable.

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