Airline regulator forces Wizz Air into policy changes

The UK’s airline regulator has instructed Wizz Air to change its policies and procedures for passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has taken enforcement action against Wizz Air following high volumes of complaints about the budget airline failing to pay passengers what they are owed.

Many Wizz Air passengers have been left out of pocket due to cancelled flights and the airline’s failure to pay for alternative routes, hotels and accommodation. Passenger complaints have resulted in a large number of County Court Judgements (CCJs) being found against Wizz Air over the last nine months.

Wizz Air has now agreed to introduce changes to its policies, procedures and passenger communications, and to re-look at claims it received for replacement flight costs, transfers when replacement flights were via different airports, and hotel and other expenses following flight disruptions.

Paul Smith, Joint-Interim Chief Executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

‘Passengers have every right to expect their complaints and claims to be resolved quickly and efficiently and to be treated fairly by airlines. We made it clear to Wizz Air last year that the way it was treating passengers was unacceptable.’

‘We will continue to watch the situation closely to check that passengers receive what they are owed and that Wizz Air’s policies have improved, so that consumers have a better experience if things go wrong.’

Can I claim for a cancelled Wizz Air flight?

The Civil Aviation Authority has now instructed Wizz Air to make changes to its policies and procedures for the future. But the ruling also means that passengers who made claims to Wizz Air in the past, but had their claims incorrectly rejected, will receive the money they are legally owed.

The CAA’s action covers claims made for flights due to depart from or arrive into a UK airport on or after 18 March 2022. If this includes you, your claim will automatically be reviewed – you don’t need to do anything.

If you made a claim for a flight that was due to depart from or arrive into a UK airport before 18 March 2022 (going back to 2016) you can also request that your claim be reopened.

What are my rights when I fly?

If your flight is cancelled, the airline must offer you an alternative flight at the earliest opportunity, and of comparable standard. It must also pay you back any costs you incur if you choose to book your own (comparable) replacement flights.

The airline must also pay for you to transfer to a nearby airport in order to fly to your destination, if you decide this is the best alternative.

Finally, airlines are required to pay for food and accommodation for all passengers whose flights are cancelled or delayed by more than two hours.

Other budget airlines in the news

Wizz Air isn’t the only budget airline to be attracting the wrong kind of headlines. We reported last month that legal firms had filed a claim on behalf of nine million EasyJet customers whose data had been stolen by cyber criminals in January 2020.

Keller Postman is leading a group of legal firms – including Leigh Day, HNK Solicitors and Johnson Law – in a group action against the airline, believing that EasyJet should have acted more quickly to notify customers after being hacked by cyber criminals. 

The nine million customers affected by the data breach should have received an email from EasyJet – all are eligible to be part of the group claim. In addition, anyone who booked flights from 17 October 2019 to 4 March 2020 could be eligible.

Read the full story here and sign up to this claim if you think you had your personal data stolen.

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