Airlines condemned for ‘cavalier approach’ to customers with sudden cancellations

Airlines have been accused of taking a “cavalier approach” towards passengers following a raft of last-minute cancellations and delays.

Consumer group Which? highlighted easyJet for “throwing thousands of people’s travel plans into chaos” by axing flights at short notice.

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “Some holidaymakers have been notified on the day they were due to travel, which is totally unacceptable.”

He added: “We continue to hear concerning examples of the airline failing to fulfil its legal obligations to passengers and ignoring their rights.

“If a flight is cancelled within 14 days of departure, passengers could be entitled to compensation and should be offered the option of being rerouted using another carrier if necessary.

“We know this requirement is not always being met, so the government and Civil Aviation Authority must intervene where airlines are playing fast and loose with the rules.”

Boland said: “The cavalier approach some airlines are currently taking towards their customers is a reminder of why passenger rights must be strengthened.

“The government should drop plans to slash compensation for delayed and cancelled domestic flights and give the CAA direct fining powers so it can properly hold airlines to account when they flout the law.”

Which? is among organisations due to appear before MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee on June 14 to discuss the disruption at airports.

Easyjet holidays has apologised to the trade for the “inconvenience” caused, with a pledge to honour agent commission for bookings cancelled within 48 hours of departure.

Tui has insisted it is doing everything possible to limit flight delays, “which can happen from time to time for various operational reasons”.

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