The Civil Aviation Authority has recently announced plans to create an independent ‘Aviation Ombudsman’ for UK air passengers to vent their anger and resolve disputes with many airlines.
Under current regulations, airlines are in no way obliged to comply with rules put in place by the CAA, but after they had heard from plenty of disgruntled passengers about the way airlines had responded (usually leading to a legal battle) it was decided that an independent complaints body should be introduced.
The body will focus on flight delays, lost bags and denied boarding; whilst dealing with a variety of other issues. The CAA hopes that the ‘ombudsman’ will allow passengers to get "quick, fair and binding solutions". The group director of the CAA, Iain Osborne, said, “we are moving forward with these proposals to make sure consumers get the very best level of support when in dispute with an airline. It can’t be right that many air passengers have to go to court to get a concrete resolution to their complaint – especially when they can easily go to an independent ombudsman with an unresolved telecoms, energy or financial services problem”.
The service won’t be free however, each complaint is predicted to cost around £25 but the CAA have stated that this fee will be waived should the passenger win his or her case. The body is expected to be a cheaper alternative to the current system and surprisingly UK airlines are funding around 80 percent of the cost needed to run the current complaints service, which stands at around £1.3 million.
It is also still unclear as to when the organisation will be set up, whether or not an existing company will take the task on board, or if the complaints body will be created from scratch.