The vast majority of British travellers have little or no idea about their rights as an airline passenger, according to a poll by travel deals publisher Travelzoo.
It surveyed more than 2,000 people in the wake of the IT system failure at British Airways, which led to cancellations and delays for more than 75,000 passengers over the May bank holiday weekend.
The ‘Understanding Air Passenger Rights’ survey reveals 82% of Brits either have no idea or only a rough understanding about their passenger rights if they are bumped off a flight.
Less than half (43%) are aware that if they have booked a flight that departed from Europe or are flying with a European airline, they are entitled to a full refund if the flight is cancelled – unless this is due to extraordinary circumstances.
Three quarters of respondents did not know that they don’t have to take a flight that has been delayed by more than five hours and that the airline must give booked passengers a full refund, as well as food and drink and overnight accommodation in some cases.
Richard Singer, Travelzoo Europe president, said: “There is clearly a lack of understanding of passenger rights when flying.
“While the information is available, it’s hard to find, complicated to understand, and even more difficult to submit a claim.
“Those entitled to compensation are either unaware that they are or don’t bother trying to claim because they perceive the process as being too much hassle.”
However, Singer said the current confusion about passenger rights presents airlines with an opportunity to gain trust from travellers.
“While clearer information about regulations is required, there is also the chance to be proactive in helping customers claim their rightful compensation,” he said.
“By implementing a system where passengers who are entitled to a claim are automatically notified, airlines stand to reap the benefits of customer loyalty through turning an unavoidable situation of disrupted travel into something that distinguishes them from others.”