Airlines face regulatory action for failing to look after passengers properly during this week’s chaos at snow-bound airports.
The Civil Aviation Authority has identified a “number of instances” where carriers have not met their obligations and is taking action to ensure that any “unacceptable practices” are addressed.
The authority has written to an unspecified number of UK and foreign airlines to make clear that their behaviour is unacceptable.
It advised travellers who have had to make their own arrangements for hotels and meals during the disruption, to should keep all their receipts and make a claim for the re-imbursement of reasonable expenses from the airline concerned as soon as possible.
Some carriers have failed to clearly explain EU denied boarding regulations to passengers, and may even be misleading their customers about their rights, the CAA said.
The regulations stipulate that during periods of disruption, airlines offer refreshments and, where appropriate, put passengers up in hotels.
CAA chairman Deirdre Hutton said: “The European Union has put in place regulations to protect people in situations such as this, which not only guarantees people will be looked after, but requires airlines to let people know what their rights are.
“This has not been happening in all cases and it is important that passengers are not being misled. The fact that some airlines are making real efforts to look after their passengers shows that it can be done and there is no excuse for providing misleading information on what passengers are entitled to.”
She added: “We welcome the government’s comments today that they are prioritising revamping the CAA’s regulatory framework so we would be able to introduce provisions to encourage major airports to prepare better for bad weather.
“In the meantime, though, our focus will be on making sure passengers get the protection they deserve.”