British Airways and easyJet could owe passengers hundreds of millions

man complaining about airport delays
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Getty))

British Airways and easyJet are embroiled in a ground-breaking lawsuit centred on delays to flights. The giants of travel have been taken to the High Court with claims insisting that they should automatically refund travellers for significant disruptions to flights - which could mean a seismic shift in how passengers are refunded following travel delays.

If successful, it could introduce a new industry norm of hefty payouts, upping the ante considerably for airlines most impacted by delays and cancellations. Up to 100,000 delayed or cancelled flights since 2016 have been pointed out by lawyers, potentially leaving the airlines facing a compensation bill of at least £100m.

While passengers can be entitled to up to £520 in compensation if their flights are delayed beyond three hours, they need to initiate the claim process themselves, leading to fears that many are missing out. As they prepare to contest the case in a two-day court appearance this week, BA and easyJet argue that the lawsuit is "misconceived".

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The case is set to spark fresh debate over the ongoing travel chaos that has become a significant problem since the pandemic, with staff shortages and air traffic control issues leading to widespread delays and cancellations, reports the Express.

Speaking after the initial claim was made last year, Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha said: "While airlines already have a legal responsibility to inform passengers of their rights to compensation and assistance when things go wrong, too often we hear that this is not taking place."

Concha added: "That this case needs to be brought at all once again exposes the UK's feeble passenger rights protections."

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