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Last Updated: Monday, 21 February, 2005, 18:25 GMT
Should airlines pay out for delays?
Stranded passengers wait in an airport lounge
Airline passengers who suffer long delays because of overbookings or cancellations, will be entitled to greater compensation from today.

The new rules apply to any flight into, or leaving, the European Union.

Compensation could range between 250 euros (173) and 600 euros, depending on the length of the flight.

Budget airlines have complained that the new rules will increase their costs and could push up ticket prices.

Should airlines pay out for delays and cancellations? Will the new rules push up fares? Have you been seriously delayed, and would greater compensation have helped?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Chris Jones, UK
Should airlines pay for delays and will the delay compensation apply to all airlines departing from European countries?

It depends. If you're paying top dollar for a flight they should, however with the low cost airlines offering a flight from say Southampton to Alicante for 100 pounds return, I don't have a problem with some delay if that happens. I would rather offer a disclaimer to the airline involved on these types of flight to absolve them of compensation than see the flight costs rocket. You have a choice after all. More to the point, I would much rather see substantial compensation for delays in getting tax rebates from the Inland Revenue that I have been waiting for more than eight months.
Mike, Denia, Spain

I use the Easyjet service to Barcelona about once every eight weeks. I usually get a return fare below 40 and rarely am delayed. If there was a clause on the booking form to accept delays of up to three hours say, or pay a higher fare I would opt for the former. I feel especially lucky that these low fares allow me to visit my grandchildren abroad on a regular basis and I would not dream of expecting compensation for a delay if that resulted in a prohibitively higher fares in the future.
Jean, Bedford, UK

Overbooking is every where in the hospitality industry. How about penalising hotels for overbooking?
Avinash Joshi, Pune, India

Absolutely, they should compensate delayed passengers. When they buy a ticket, they're making a specific contract to get somewhere by certain time. If this is not kept it can sometimes negate the whole reason for the trip. A system is clearly necessary as the avenues put in place by the companies themselves are purposefully difficult to get results from.
Ben Pearson, Edinburgh, Scotland

The only time I can see something like this making sense is in the case of out of hand overbooking. Other than that, I would rather be safe than be on time. I worry about the pressure that will be applied to mechanics, the risk of bad weather flying, etc. Bottom line however is that the cost is going to be passed down to the customers eventually.
John S., Arizona, USA

If the guidelines are clear then this is a good thing. Something similar should be applied to the railways 'service' in this country.
J Burdall, Matlock, England

Anything that hurts or distresses the air travel industry is OK by me. I don't use it, but I am totally fed up with its noise and pollution.
Feet-on-ground, UK

Let the airlines run their business like a business
Ed Johnson, Zurich
YES, they MUST pay. I have been bumped four times last year coming out of Heathrow bound for Switzerland, always due to overbooking and I am absolutely fed up with it. After the third time, my employer thought I was constantly trying to extend my weekends. Let the airlines run their business like a business, and pay the price of miscalculation.
Ed Johnson, Zurich, Switzerland

If the airlines pay compensation then it is in their interest to honour their contract. One Irish budget carrier is notorious for caring about itself not its passengers. I have used them happily, but I do not trust them at all. If the measures make that airline responsible then it will be a better more trusted airline.
David, Scotland

I can't believe how many more body blows the public think this precarious industry can stand. All major carriers are struggling to make profit. Perhaps if the public did not go from travel agent to travel agent to the web and back in order to get a price that is a few pounds cheaper, making duplicate bookings, the airlines would not need to overbook. If people took responsibility and checked in at the airport with enough time, they would lessen the risk of being bumped. It is outrageous to expect the airline to compensate us.
Anon, Nelson, Lancs

Nice one. The Eurocrats have thought up this wheeze to benefit the state subsidised airlines and crush the profitability of the other carriers. One advantage is I shan't have to sit next to some 'compensation snivelling, penny pinching backpacker' because they won't be able to afford a ticket.
John, France

Airline businesses have cut their own throats in competition
Michael Wilson, Mexico City
Interesting reading! Airline businesses have cut their own throats in competition. Regulation is required to stop them trading at a loss just to maintain market share. If operators know an average 5% of ticketed passengers will not turn up for a specific flight, then it's not unreasonable to overbook by the same margin. As I see it, worldwide, the airline business is in a mess. Either they need to be a subsidised public service - nationalised flag carriers, or they need to be prohibited from trading whilst insolvent (like any other business!)
Michael Wilson, Mexico City (UK Ex-Pat)

I'm afraid to say Britain has gone compensation mad and is full of money grabbers.
Brian, Preston

I am concerned that the delay/cancellation compensation may tempt airlines to skimp or put off maintenance to catch up on time or even risk flying in averse weather conditions. I was once delayed overnight by a flight cancelled due to high winds, but I would prefer to have delay and no compensation than an accident. Do you know if the regulators will be able to ensure passenger safety?
William Willis, Maidstone Kent

Having once endured a 19 hour delay with nothing but contradictory lies for explanations (overbooking turned out to be the real reason) and no compensation, I think these reforms are long overdue. We know the guilty companies who consistently overbook, so this at last may be brought under control.
Bill, Lanarkshire, Scotland

As a frequent traveller I often encounter delays. The new EU Regulations will hopefully encourage airline companies to ensure that they stick to their schedules! But sometimes it is not the airline company's fault as passengers check-in late etc so how about introducing EC Regulations which would fine irresponsible passengers who check in late?
Carine Xydas, Cyprus

If you are travelling budget then 'buyer beware'
Simon Mallett, Maidstone, UK

Why should a passenger of an aircraft be compensated in this way when a train passenger travelling a perhaps similar distance will not be similarly compensated? If you are travelling budget then 'buyer beware'.
Simon Mallett, Maidstone, UK

Sounds good on paper but in the end it will be us that will be paying for it in increased airfare, just another way "peoples rights" are becoming dangerous.
Mike, London, England

I think it could be seen as a grey area when it comes to delays or cancellations. However as for some of them, as in all walks of life, can't be avoided. I think it's appalling that airlines overbook seats. Some people don't get many chances to go on holiday so they could be looking forward to that flight for a long time only for stress to be added unnecessarily. I think in those cases the airline companies should be stung financially quite heavily.
Barbara, Hull, England

How is it justified that a person who pays 17 for an EasyJet flight can then receive over 100 in compensation? Surely compensation should be proportionate to the fare paid?
Suneil, Durham

In principle yes, but it's a bit like the railways, the question remains who is responsible? Is it reasonable for an airliner to pay out if the French air traffic controllers decide to strike, or there's terrorism alert? Once again this is Brussels imposing legislation without thought. By all means penalise airlines who overbook, or who over estimate their own abilities so fail to meet expected service standards.
Stephen Hodgson, Worcester, UK

These new rules are to hit the low fare airlines first and that is the main target. Passengers will not have any benefit from this, only loss. Compensations are minimal while the ticket prices are to rise and finally all airlines will have similar fares.
Harris, Munich, Germany

During my many trips abroad, the airlines regularly overbooked flights and being a single traveller I was always given the short straw without any offer of compensation. If the airline wishes to continue with the practice of overbooking flights to ensure a full aircraft and maximum profit, they should deliver compensation to the passengers affected by this profiteering policy.
Stephen Rowe, Melbourne, Australia

I am cabin crew with a major British airline and fly from Heathrow everyday. In the past week or so I have been delayed several times for the following reasons: snowstorm in Zurich, aircraft (not ours) with technical problem blocking taxiway at Heathrow, strong winds in London slowing down frequency of landings, passenger checking baggage and then not travelling. How many of these are our fault? Zero. So why should my employers have to compensate people? Often insurance doesn't cover losses through acts of God, so why should the airline industry have to pay up due to bad weather? Everyone will lose out in the end.
Dave Pallett, Slough, UK

I believe that this legislation will force budget airlines to follow a more effective maintenance regime, hence improve the reliability of their aircraft. Initially this may cause a peak in their fares to cover costs, but once established will allow prices to fall back to levels close to current levels. Further legislation should be brought in to give airlines the right to claim compensation payouts from support services at airports or air traffic control centres if those services are responsible for the cause of a delay.
David, Livingston, Scotland

If you want all the frills then you have to pay for them
Griff, London, UK
Compensation should be at a reasonable level if the airline is at fault - otherwise, no. Perhaps compensation from budget airlines should be less than "full service" airlines - after all, those flying with budget airlines pay less and expect no-frills service. If you want all the frills then you have to pay for them.
Griff, London, UK

I agree with the comments made that safety could be compromised. This is going to place even more pressure on the crew to dispatch a flight with a technical problem. The EU is also considering even longer working hours for Flight & Cabin crews, which are already 16 hours max with no requirement for a break. Hmm longer hours pressure to dispatch and fatigue is a disaster waiting to happen.
Rich, Sussex

All the hassle of waking up early or spending a day getting ready, then travelling to the airports and then the frustration of waiting for a flight that never happens are all factors that need to be considered in compensation matters. If an airline advertises a flight, why does it ever have to be cancelled except for extreme weather or serious mechanical faults? Airlines need to start considering satisfying their customers for a change instead of just working on more effective ways to cram us working class plebs into tiny seats for that extra buck while pandering to those who can afford business class.
Bob, Reading, UK

It's simple - someone will have to pay. Some airlines have gone bust in recent years, so it's not as if they have buckets of money to throw around. The costs will be passed onto consumers. Frankly, I'd rather have cheaper tickets and less protection.
Chris, London, UK

It seems a little unfair to me that the air industry should be singled out for this. If my train is delayed, the most I can usually expect is a refund of the ticket price. That airlines should have to pay out something that may well be several times the ticket price seems a little odd in comparison.
Luke Ross, Oxford, UK

This is clearly an attempt by the Europeans to shore up their vastly subsidised flag carriers and put the (mainly UK-based) LCCs out of business. In all other forms of transport the compensation paid is proportional to the cost of your ticket. If the LCCs are forced to pay this level of compensation on a sustained basis it will mean the end of cheap flights - something which would no doubt delight those in Brussels. Airlines should certainly be banned from leaving passengers stranded at overseas destinations if they cancel a flight, but if they face substantial delays in an uncomfortable departure lounge... well that comes with the territory of cheap flights.
Leo, York, UK

I think the measures taken by the EU are in the right direction. Let there be no doubt also that the low cost airlines will not increase their tickets further, for they will lose their cliental. I am optimistic that prices will remain the same and the flights will become even more punctual.
Tony, Greece

There is a serious safety issue at stake. The final responsibility for despatching a flight lies with the captain. He or she must make a judgement as to whether the flight is safe to depart and, in so doing, considers a huge range of safety issues. If the airline is going to be financially penalised for safety related delays what pressure will the captain be under to despatch the flight? The reality is that everyone wants the aircraft to depart on time. Safety will be compromised by this excessive compensation culture.
Tristram, London

Airlines have all sorts of get out clauses that exempt them from normal legislation - all based on the time when the airlines were owned by their countries. Well now that they are ordinary businesses they should expect to play by the same rules as everyone else. Double selling seats and delays that are caused by negligence or stupidity on the airline's part should get sensible compensation. Good airlines will adjust their processes to limit their exposure, bad airlines will go out of business.
Duncan Ross, Birmingham, UK

The low cost airlines are doing very well, this may affect their profits a bit but when selling a ticket they enter into a contract to transport a customer from A to B on a given date at a given time. This contract should be honoured and if it can't appropriate compensation should be made.
Irene, Manchester, UK

There is no price that can be put on people's safety
Roger Ewing, Belfast

This new charge will be passed on to the consumer just like every other government imposed charge. If the planes are going to be fined whenever they are late, then why not the trains and buses as well? Where does it all stop? I have travelled extensively on budget airlines, and I have never had a cancelled flight. Things go wrong on planes - fact. And it takes as long as it takes for it to get fixed. There is no price that can be put on people's safety.
Roger Ewing, Belfast

Absolutely, airlines should pay compensation! I am a regular traveller to Amsterdam and don't have enough fingers on one hand to count the number of times my trip has been ruined because a budget airline has bumped me off. Now, just maybe, it is payback time!
Neil Lithgo, Walthamstow, London

I disagree with this. It will force the fares up and restrict travel to many who cannot afford the high fares. If people want compensation they should take out insurance and leave the good system we have now alone.
Brian Brown, Aberdeen

It's wrong to think that we consumers have won any greater entitlements here. Airlines practice overbooking in order to reduce ticket prices. If they are forced to pay out more, they will simply raise ticket prices to compensate. Remember: corporations don't pay tax, only people do, since companies simply pass the cost of the tax on to their customers.
James, Manchester

To create employment we need to be competitive, these kind of laws only stifle development for the sake of vote politics. Yes we need the airlines to be responsive to delays, they could offer food, lodging or other comforts for delays, rather than cash incentives. It is also possible that the airline might decide to fly rather than fix a problem, thereby compromising on the safety of the plane.
Chandru Narayan, USA

My family and I had a Newcastle to Belfast flight cancelled not long ago due to a crack in the windshield. Because of the cancellation, hundreds of angry people talked rudely to the airline management who were patient and generous in booking us into hotels - we got a fantastic hotel in Newcastle, everything paid for. I think airlines do more than enough to compensate for cancelled flights. At the end of the day, nobody would want to fly on a slightly faulty plane anyway. Airlines do more than enough as it is.
Deborah, Belfast, NI

Let's keep a balanced view on the matter and only penalise where the airline is trying to avoid its responsibilities
David, Basel, Switzerland
As a frequent flyer both for business and pleasure I have experienced most types of inconvenience. The most annoying one relates to the airline practice of overbooking. Where such cases clearly result in the traveller being penalised - either financially or otherwise (e.g. shortened weekend) then the airline have a duty to compensate. That said, I have found that low-cost budget airlines take their responsibilities seriously and already offer refunds on cancelled flights. So let's keep a balanced view on the matter and only penalise where the airline is trying to avoid its responsibilities (providing these are within their control).
David, Basel, Switzerland

It's not just low cost airlines that 'bump' passengers. After paying peak-time prices at Christmas, and being delayed for 2 days out of a 7 day trip due to overbooking, airlines should take responsibility and understand that sometimes time is more important than an upgrade or a free ticket.
F. Ahmed, Blackpool, UK

I am fed up of blame culture and escalating compensation costs across the UK. I fail to see why, if a flight is delayed or diverted due to bad weather or through no fault of an individual airline, people can't just grow up, stop whinging and accept that there are some things over which no one has any control. Airlines run on a tight enough budget without adding this unnecessary strain and ultimately increasing the cost of flying all round. As for overbooking, if you don't want to be a victim then turn up for check-in in good time - it's not rocket science!
Paula, Southampton, UK

Everyone here speaks of the higher ticket prices that may result but my primary concern is bankruptcies. The penalties imposed by the new rules are astronomical and once airlines start to pay out, they are going to have an even harder time being profitable. Ultimately this will cost jobs, in fact lots of them. Things are already bad enough for airlines. I can't understand how governments in their typical infinite wisdom signed up to this crazy scheme.
Jonathan PD, Paris, France

I have just booked 2 flights to Barcelona for 42 each. How can I be entitled to compensation of four times that if it is delayed?
Philip, Essex, England

The airline should be duty bound to get a passenger home, and at the price agreed. To leave passengers effectively stranded, and forced to pay full price to get home because they were let down by the airline is simply wrong. However, this compensation package goes too far. The only way that low cost airlines can absorb this is by raising prices, thus bringing their prices closer to mainstream carriers. The compensation should be reflective of the price paid, and the level of service expected.
Craig, Stirling, Scotland

I think it's important for the customers to have a choice of risk options. When I pay 16 for a ticket to Europe, I'm implicitly accepting the risk of delays. When my company pays 200 to send me from London to Glasgow, they are implicitly purchasing a lower risk ratio. I don't think passengers want to lose that choice; rather, the risk should be more explicit, and perhaps contractually committed.
Michael Ansley, Guildford, Surrey

If this increases the price of plane tickets, that can only be a good thing. The amount of environmental damage done by flying is immense. Anything to discourage air travel is good.
Dave Waghorn, Southampton, UK

Ridiculous. I work for our national flag carrier, and to have these compensation payments enforced beggars belief. Tell me, are we as a company now liable for the weather, delayed passengers to the gate/aircraft, European ATC issues, the BAA's inability to offer vital ground services ensuring we depart on time, and numerous other factors way beyond a companies control? This will end up having a two fold effect for the passenger. Firstly, no more low-cost and that is almost guaranteed. Secondly, any discrepancy companies once had in running an operation for the benefit of our customers will disappear.
Anon, Heathrow

If you can't afford to pay for standard stuff like compensation policies then you shouldn't be flying
Rupert Jenner, London

As a rare individual who just wants to pay a fair price for flights I'm delighted at the new compensation rules. I would like to see the airlines graduating back to a better service for a fair price. Can we all just agree that air travel is not god given right? If you can't afford to pay for standard stuff like compensation policies then you shouldn't be flying.
Rupert Jenner, London

How on earth can you expect compensation more than the original flight cost? There will be only one result and it will mean increased fares. We all know that by booking with the no-frills airlines we are getting some great deals and we have to accept certain limitations when booking. This smacks of the Euro-zone looking after the national carriers with a piece of quite clever but pretty underhand legislation.
Mike Thompson, Darlington UK

I was due to fly back from Alicante with Monarch last year when the flight "went technical" and was delayed for 24 hours. They were brilliant, sending all the passengers to a hotel for the night and providing as much information as they could but the amount of belly-aching and whining from passengers about how it wasn't good enough and how they were going to sue was amazing. When will people wake up and smell the coffee? Life is not without risk; things break down and go wrong. I fear that being forced into paying this ridiculous compensation to people who haven't taken sufficient safeguards against delays will lead to an airline, somewhere, someday, sending an aircraft that previously they would have grounded for a minor technical difficulty only to have it fall out of the sky 30 minutes after take off?
David, Chelmsford, Essex

Of course the airlines should pay out for delays caused by overbooking or bad management. They are making good money by "piling it high and selling it cheap" and also by cutting corners - not to mention the appalling standards of customer care and the way that their staff are mistreated. That's the cost of cheap airlines, and up to now those passengers who have taken advantage of the low fares have had their payoff in the form of grotty service when things go wrong.
Robert Day, Coventry, UK

I had a bad experience with a flight cancelled by a mainstream airline a couple of years ago. It cost me over 400 and I was only ever compensated 70 for the expense and trouble I went through in having to sleep in a freezing cold airport and having no help whatsoever from the airline, not even the offer of another flight. Hopefully this new rule will stop this company and indeed others getting away with this.
Neil Ryding, Warrington

It's more evidence that Europe believes it can regulate its way to a better society. It continues to embrace more strongly than ever the very philosophy which is at the root of its worst problems. This is one more reason why Europe is the least competitive major economic bloc and one more reason not to do business there. Someone will have to pay for this and it's not the airlines who merely pass the cost along to the passengers themselves.
Mark, USA

It's good to see the airlines being brought in line
Andrew Forster, London, UK
Rail passengers already have the right to claim compensation for delays of more than one hour - the amount varies from area to area. On many companies such as Eurostar it is 100%, and this, like the airline rules, applies in all but 'exceptional circumstances' such as a fatality or a bomb scare. It's good to see the airlines being brought in line.
Andrew Forster, London, UK

I don't think that automatic compensation is right as it will inevitably increase the cost of air travel. You will also find some airlines re-timetabling their flights so that they have greater leeway before compensation becomes payable. The train operators have done exactly the same thing recently. I think that the key here is consumer information - naming and shaming the poorest performers may work better. The other thing that could work is forcing the airlines to offer insurance against delays. That way people can pay for the protection if they want it. Those who can't or don't want to afford it will not need to pay. I think there is also a lot that needs to be done to improve air traffic delays out of congested airports too.
Anthony Davies, Crawley UK

Several large US airlines are in Chapter 11 status and struggling to avoid bankruptcy, with all of the lost jobs and livelihoods that brings with it. Budget airlines survive on tiny profit margins. Combined with the EU (reports yesterday) also discussing a per-air passenger surcharge to fund EU overseas "aid", rather than achieving any good they are more likely to simply destroy the industry.
Geoff, Portsmouth

The practice of overbooking is a curiosity that seems unique to the airline industry. If it were to stop I'm sure the increased costs incurred will be passed on to the customer in the form of higher ticket prices. Perhaps the solution is to offer guaranteed seats for an extra cost and allow those who do not mind taking the risk of missing their flight to purchase at a cheaper rate. As for the comments about 'greedy blame culture' it's not that simple. I was once forced to miss my flight due to overbooking and could not fly until the following day, a delay that very nearly cost me my job.
Malc, Cardiff

They should not pay for delays or cancellations if it is not the fault of the airline. Of course passengers should be compensated by the airline if is their fault. The danger of introducing compensation is that it gives an excuse for the airlines to increase their fares not just to compensate for their loss but to make more money out of the passengers. It should be left to the airlines to determine any compensation. Airlines that compensate appropriately will become more popular. It will make air travel better and more competitive.
Matthew, Horsham

Airlines overbook because of the huge number of late cancellations, so that flights are filled and as economical as possible. If they get the balance wrong, then they should pay compensation. Compensation shouldn't be out of all proportion to the original fare. If people want to fly in all weather conditions with airlines large enough to provide spare aircraft if one breaks down, then they shouldn't go to a cut-price airline.
Jamie, UK

Most of the respondents seem to worry that their cheap flights will come to an end. God help us all if you measure the quality of your life by how cheap your flight is. Have you not heard how aviation is destroying the environment? Not content with polluting the ground level, we now are taking this into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. And you only seem to worry that you might pay a little bit more to fly. How selfish!
Anon, UK

Hurray! Finally something that protects the passengers from the airlines. These days a passenger is completely beholden to the airlines. You can't get upset at bad service and hold them accountable for terrible customer service levels. They have us over a barrel and now finally we can do something about it!
Jessica, Oxford, UK

I have serious concerns the safety of air travel will be affected by this legislation
Russell, London
I have serious concerns the safety of air travel will be affected by this legislation. The majority of airlines are barely profitable and are affected by many factors outside their control. These airlines will be encouraged to take risks if this legislation is brought into effect. Any benefits we may gain will only be offset by higher prices.
Russell, London

It's not compensation I want when my flight is delayed, it's another flight...
Caron, England

This is going from one extreme to the other! Yes passengers should be compensated for over-bookings and lost luggage, but let's be honest who can control the weather? Will we soon be able to seek compensation from councils for impassable roads due to heavy snowdrifts or floods? Where will it all end?
Chris , Stafford

For what it's worth, US airlines only have to pay compensation if the delay is their fault - weather-related delays are excluded. I think that this is perfectly fair. An airline is being paid to bring me from point A to point B, and if they can't, then they shouldn't be in business. Anyone who says that they don't mind being inconvenienced obviously has never flown.
John, London

Yes - It should be the same with train companies - as was what happened when the Hatfield crash occurred, season ticket holders did get compensation for poor service as a result of the crash. It should happen generally. In the office we have to perform to our targets so why should we not expect the same from other sectors...? It may improve service and force companies to invest more carefully, upgrade and improve.
E, London, UK

The UK is fast becoming a compensation-orientated nation. The idea that we get financial compensation is madness. Of course it will push up fares, as us Brits love to complain and the airlines will want to cover themselves. We spend most of our lives in a queue, it the way of the world. Next we will be getting compensation for road closures and traffic jams and public transport delays, if this happens how will the costs be covered?.. you guessed it, increased fares and lower quality of service.
Richard McGavigan, Essex, UK

Give the passengers the choice
Colin Messitt, Cheshire, UK
Give the passengers the choice. Add a realistic failure insurance charge to the cost of the ticket, but make it optional. You pay the charge and you are entitled to compensation, you don't and you aren't. Oh, sorry, I forgot, the EU bureaucrats wouldn't like that, in my view, they aren't in the business of giving the ordinary man choice and freedom.
Colin Messitt, Cheshire, UK

Of course they should pay compensation. I am tired of the "poor poor me" attitude of the airlines. If they didn't overbook flights on purpose, treat passengers as cattle they wouldn't have this problem. This whole issue is self inflicted by the airline industry and as such they deserve no sympathy. If a company bumps me onto a flight the next day because they overbooked and thus have ruined my holiday, of course I deserve compensation, whether I have paid 10 for a ticket or 1,000. If they don't want to pay the compensation, then run an efficient customer focused service!
Vish, UK

Budget airlines are saying that they will have to pay out more than the original ticket price. In my case travelling to work in Germany from England with a budget airline a cancellation could mean a days delay and if I am not at work I don't get paid. They would most likely sell me another ticket at full price. The two together could cost a commuter like myself between 300 - 400 pounds. Make them compensate for all costs incurred. Similarly if the cancellation ruins someone's weekend break make them compensate the cost of that weekend away.
Keith Nicklin, London

What's the point, the cost of tickets will rise to fund the inevitable payouts... its exactly the same as travel insurance anyway.
Dale Wilson, Braintree, UK

I think that you only get what you pay for. If you are going to fly with a low-cost, sticky tape airline and only pay a small amount for the privilege, then you cannot expect to get the same standard of service as the higher cost airlines. I don't think compensation is the right thing, I have lost count the amount of times I have been delayed at airports, it's just something you put up with.
H, UK

People who cannot live with risk should be prepared to pay extra
Colin Berry, Antibes, France
People who cannot live with risk should be prepared to pay extra, say another 5 or 10 on the cost of their ticket. It's the same principle as car rental: you pay extra if you wish to limit the 'excess' to 100. But the choice is left to the customer. What I object to is the 'one size fits all' argument, which has everyone paying extra to featherbed a relatively small number of unfortunates.
Colin Berry, Antibes, France

Why should airlines not be accountable for their own inefficiencies? In many industries penalties and compensation are applied for late completion or sub standard services. Why airlines feel this does not apply to them is beyond me!
Robert, England

Let's face it if you have saved all year for one week away and your flight is delayed for 5 hours + you have lost a day of your holiday. That one day is worth a lot more than a drinks voucher for the airport and the pitiful amount of compensation that has been offered previously.
S Gee, Wirral, UK

I always take out insurance which is the only sure way of getting properly compensated. There will "plane loads" of people trying it on now, and airlines are going to get bogged down dealing with the administration of trivial disputes. Some of the genuine claims are going to get shuffled down the pack or ignored altogether. And many low cost airlines will probably have to increase their fares to compensate their running costs.
Ronald McKenzie, London, UK

We are getting more and more like the US every day. All anyone cares about is getting compensation. I hate this greedy blame everyone culture that we have now. I'm quite happy to be pushed off a flight and wait a couple of hours for the next one. What's the big deal - it happens with buses and trains all the time - or is that going to be the next thing?
Claire, Edinburgh

I think passengers should be compensated for delays/cancellations, but I think the level should be more reflective of the price of the ticket. For instance, budget travellers accept a lower standard of service - it might be better to have a lower level of compensation and a duty for the airline to provide transport for a passenger on a cancelled flight to their destination within a certain time limit, even if it means paying other carriers to take them. I also think this should be extended to cover train journeys, especially season ticket holders where any renewal discount for "bad service" are taken over all operations, rather than the significant peak time services.
Simon, London

This is nothing new. Compensation was always offered by conscientious airlines and was always available to passengers prepared to litigate. Unfortunately this piece of legislation is not for the protection of passengers, but the protection of the inefficient European state airlines from the competitive budget airlines. It must be challenged or its goodbye cheap flights.
Roger, London, England.

Ultimately the costs will be passed on to customers
Charlotte, UK
To be totally fair it depends on how much you pay- when you are paying less than 100 to go anywhere it's tough if the flights are delayed but when travelling for work we frequently pay several hundred for a standard flight so the refunds are totally justified. Though I do think that ultimately the costs will be passed on to customers.
Charlotte, UK

Seems a bit unfair to me. For instance, shouldn't the same logic be applied to train companies, ferry companies etc.
Iain, Carlisle

I don't think any compensation should be offered unless a flight is overbooked. Minor delays can often be caused by passengers failing to turn up on time to the gate. If airline passengers can start claiming compensation what next - Rail passengers? Rail fares are high enough as it is. I'd hate to see what kind of price hike that would have on the already extortionate cost of rail travel!
Amy, Reading

I think budget airlines should be exempt from this as it would force up costs and make them less attractive to customers, thereby reducing their status. I'm all for compensation in delays but if it's at the cost of pricier flights, then no thanks!
Mo, London, UK

Yes, certainly for the unacceptable practice of overbooking. If this pushes up budget air fares, all the better for the environment; they are too cheap at the moment, with aviation fuel having an unfair tax advantage.
Tony, Beds, UK

Absolutely, provided it is their fault. I have been bounced from over booked flights on several occasions and been offered ridiculously low compensation that would not cover a hotel room at the airport. I have ended up out of pocket as a consequence. I have also had problems with a low cost carrier - they moved the time of my outbound and return flights by several hours making the weekend away I had planned pretty pointless. Even so I was unable to get my money back - all I was able to get were vouchers for that airline!
Mark Davies, London, UK

It's time that the airlines started paying the full cost of breaching their contracts
Stuart Davis, Redhill, Surrey
The compensation seems about right, even for low-cost flights. Quite often, the cost of a cancellation can go far beyond the ticket price. Being stranded at an airport for hours could mean a loss of business, or the shortening of a well-earned, pre-paid holiday. It's time that the airlines started paying the full cost of breaching their contracts.
Stuart Davis, Redhill, Surrey

Worthless. Airlines are just going to blame somebody else and say it was outside their control and not pay compensation.
Richard, Orpington

As a pilot, my concern is not around the compensation or cost of tickets - but that of safety! Airlines are having a tough time at the moment, and maintaining (or increasing) the bottom line is critical to their survival. If an airline is struggling financially, I think there is a greater risk that, rather than delay a flight due to bad weather and pay compensation, the airline management will encourage pilots to fly anyway. Ultimately I think this legislation will lead to more close shaves and more accidents!
Jim, Oxford, UK

As a very frequent air traveller I have mixed feelings about the new rules. Until now most airlines (with one or two notable exceptions) have been following the principle that they will reimburse customers' expenses if a delay is the airline's fault but not if the delay is due to the weather. I always felt that this approach was entirely fair, and I disagree with the approach taken by certain low-cost carriers who will not pay passengers' expenses even if the delay is the airline's fault. The new system is unfair on airlines because it makes them pay even if the delay isn't their fault - but I would whole-heartedly support the new system if it contained an exemption for weather-related relays.
Angie, Ipswich, UK

'No Frills' airlines are just that. You're paying a miniscule rate for being flown to another country. You can't expect to be compensated if the flight is late. If you want guarantees you pay for them.
Paul, Ashford, Surrey, UK

"You pays your money, you takes your choice". If the airline is culpable, the airline should pay but if it isn't, it shouldn't. If you want guaranteed compensation for every whining little complaint you can dream up, then buy your flights from the expensive airlines - there are plenty of them.
Stephen Brooks, York, England

Delays already cost the industry hundreds of millions every year. Putting people in hotels, feeding and watering them, and then giving free or discounted flights in compensation wipes out a sizeable amount. Greater monetary compensation coupled with the possibility of more people claiming will have an adverse effect.
R Orimole, Manchester, UK

I firmly believe that the only reason to compensate should be through loss of seat through overbooking. Almost every other factor, except maybe bad maintenance, falls outside the airlines control. And then they shouldn't be flying at all. The very nature of air travel shows how good the airlines are already at keeping relatively good schedules when the entire flight from engine start to reaching their destination is wholly dependant on weather.
Nick, UK

How about getting compensation from those passengers who turn up 5 minutes after the flight was supposed to leave
David Hazel, Fareham, UK
How about getting compensation from those passengers who turn up 5 minutes after the flight was supposed to leave? I've only once found a flight I was on overbooked, and then the airline gave me a free upgrade to Club Class to get me on. Whereas I've had umpteen delays caused by inconsiderate people who didn't have the courtesy to show up at the time their boarding passes told them to. Either close the flights on time and leave them behind, or make these people pay for their lack of consideration.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

If a passenger cannot board a flight for which they have a ticket due to overbooking, for whatever reason, they should definitely get compensation. Delays however, could be beyond the control of the airlines due to climate, strikes, knock-on delays, etc. so in that case I think that should be a matter for passenger insurance.
Les, Morpeth, England

Presumably these new rules are to benefit penny pinching politicians and big businesses who use these services a lot and hold influence over the airline industry. Ultimately the people who will pay for this, are the ordinary people on the street, who have benefited so much low cost air travel. Will services now be cut and ticket prices go up?
John, Skipton

As per usual, the litigation culture is spoiling it for everyone else
Richard, Marbella, Spain
As per usual, the litigation culture is spoiling it for everyone else. It's not usually the airline's fault, and yet it's them who will incur the charges (and lets face it, pass them on to us). I think it should be optional, that way if you are the kind of persons who wants "no frills" travel, then you accept that you won't be compensated if there are problems. If you want to pay more to fly with a more expensive airline with the promise of compensation, then go ahead! Where are all our choices disappearing to?
Richard, Marbella, Spain

Strictly speaking, by not flying on time, the airline has breached the contract of sale, as the ticket you purchase has a departure time on it. However, in reality, this will be, quite rightly, passed onto the consumer - two fold, in order to pay for the administration of it as well. Why don't consumers just accept, that air travel will sometimes simply not always go like clockwork, and just accept it.
Darren, Staffs, UK

My father who worked in the aircraft industry for 35 years always used to say "If you have time to spare, go by air!"
Peter Holland, Nottingham, UK

If it's going to result in higher fares then it's not worth it
David, England
If it's going to result in higher fares then it's not worth it. I would rather risk the occasional delay than have to pay higher fares. This compensation culture is going to end up killing business.
David, England

They can, but don't expect prices to stay low! The higher airline costs, the lower the incentive to be in the business. If you want cheap flights, stop hassling airlines!
Andy, UK

Of course they should. Plus it's quite right that the budget carriers should pay the same amount of compensation as the inconvenience is still the same - if not worse as often they are the only airline travelling to that location from that airport, so you can't just get another flight.
Al Smith, Cardiff, UK




SEE ALSO:
Air passenger rights given boost
17 Feb 05 |  Business



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