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Government may drop plans to cut flight compensation on domestic routes

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Transport Secretary (at least until next week) Anne-Marie Trevelyan has indicated that Government plans to scrap the EU compensation scheme for cancelled or delayed domestic flights will themselves now be scrapped.

The plan had been proposed her predecessor Grant Shapps. The idea was to move to a similar model to that used by the rail companies, with your compensation being a percentage of the ticket price.

The obvious problem with this idea is that it would have to live alongside – not instead of – the existing EC261 compensation regime. Whilst Brexit gives the UK the ability to change the compensation rules on domestic flights, it cannot change the rules on short haul flights to or from the EU.

Government drops plans to reduce flight compensation on domestic routes

Asking airlines to operate two different compensation regimes does not make things easier for anyone.

This isn’t why the plans are being dropped, however.

Trevelyan believes a move to a rail-style compensation scheme for domestic flights – which would be substantially cheaper in terms of totals paid out than the current scheme – would encourage airlines to cancel more flights and generally make life worse for customers.

It could even lead to airlines prioritising domestic flights for cancellation in cases where they found themselves short of crew or aircraft.

During the Commons’ Transport Select Committee meeting this week, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said:

“The industry is pushing to have a railway-style compensation system, which in the view of many, including consumer groups and the travelling public, is completely different from air travel.

“If your flight is cancelled or delayed you often end up having to pay for a hotel, you’re caused huge inconvenience and extra expense.

“The idea all you’ll get back is a fraction of the actual fare or even the full fare would not be adequate, would it?”

Trevelyan agreed and indicated that the proposals from her predecessor were likely to be dropped.

Government may drop plans to cut flight compensation on domestic routes

Under the Grant Shapps proposal, passengers would have received:

  • 25% of the ticket prices for delays of 1-2 hours
  • 50% of the ticket price for delays of 2-3 hours
  • 100% of the ticket price for delays of over three hours

Under the current EU compensation scheme, compensation is:

  • €250 for flights up to 1,500 km
  • €400 for European flights above 1,500 km

Rocio Concha from Which? magazine said in a statement sent to HfP:

“Which? has been campaigning for stronger powers for the aviation regulator, including the ability to directly fine airlines – so it’s good news for passengers that the Department for Transport is planning legislation to give the Civil Aviation Authority powers to crack down on operators that flout the law.

“It was positive to hear the Transport Secretary indicate that proposed cuts to domestic flight compensation may no longer go ahead, and acknowledge the consumer champion’s view that when properly enforced, compensation rules act as a vital deterrent against airlines treating passengers badly and employing practices like overbooking flights or cancelling them at the last minute.”

It isn’t clear what is happening in regards to compensation for international long-haul flights. The Government had implied that it wanted to rip up this ruling as well, but it was always unlikely that compensation for EU flights would remain whilst long-haul payments would not.

Comments (79)

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  • Mike Hunt says:

    It’s time to take back control and get rid of complying with any EU originated compensation schemes

    • Richie says:

      What’s the practical plan for the government to actually do that.

    • VinZ says:

      You’ve taken back control and the shambles is under everybody’s eyes.

    • Panda Mick says:

      2016 called, they want their lies back….

    • Comrade Chag says:

      So much control for being a slave of the markets.

    • RussellH says:

      Why are you so hung up on EU regulations?
      If we deal with the USA we have to abide by USA regulations.
      Similarly for dealings with Japan, Australia, and anywhere else.

      If you really want to “take back control” then you need to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. You could move to North Korea.

    • Michael Jennings says:

      If the flights are to or from the EU, you simply cannot do that, as the flights are partly governed by EU law.

    • James Harper says:

      Perhaps you would like to drop any EASA regulations and agreements?

      Do you know that would ground every single aircraft with a UK registration?

      Perhaps that’s your dream come true, trolls tend to have strange fantasies.

  • Bill says:

    Brexit the gift that keeps in giving.

    Now, Johnson, where’s that £350m for the NHS?

    • RussellH says:

      Paid for his wallpaper?

    • VinZ says:

      We’re paying for the NHS – he introduced an extra tax to foot the bill.

    • Brian says:

      gas is rationed in the EU – cold showers, no heated swimming swimming pools, lights off at night. thank god we aren’t in the EU.

      • Rob says:

        No it isn’t! What are you talking about? Spain, for example, is overrun with gas because it has most of the LNG processing facilities in Europe. Clearly the Scandis aren’t running out at any point soon. The Germans have issue due to over-reliance on gas but are in decent shape with their storage facilities almost full.

        The only possible reason we may have issues in the UK is that the Government refused to support the only gas storage facility in the UK when it was losing money and so Centrica closed it.

      • Harry T says:

        Yes, thank god we aren’t taking practical steps to reduce energy consumption in the face of constrained supply. I sleep more soundly at night knowing we are bank rolling Putin, contributing to climate change and avoiding tackling energy related inflation.

        • Will says:

          Yep, it blows my mind that there’s been next to zero government encouragement in the U.K. to reduce consumption. If you could knock 20% off consumption, you’d see gas prices tumble.

          And the energy price guarantee really didn’t target its support effectively as people with high consumption get a bigger £ subsidy than those with low consumption.

          Would have been much better subsiding everyone’s first 0.8x units where x is last years average consumption and charging retail buying that to discourage additional use.

          We’ll know how bad the real pain is soon enough though as within 6 months we’ll have an idea as to how deep this inflation/interest rate/unemployment/asset bust is going to be. My guess is that it’s going to be far worse than most people can imagine. Without printing/borrowing there’s a massive chunk of the economy that cannot exist.

      • Comrade Chag says:


      • Alan says:

        What total rubbish @brian

        • His Holyness says:

          Lots of places are heat or eat, the UK *and* the EU. Numerous EU states are in a worse position than the UK.
          Inflation is above 20% in numerous EU Member States (MS). Inflation exceeds the UK in EE, LT, LV, HU, CZ, NL, PL, BG, SK, RO, HR, GR, BE, DK, DE and AT.
          In some MS suppliers have terminated consumers gas contracts with little notice.
          Coal is up 3x in MS that rely on it. Like the UK, food 2-3x as much, especially milk based products and meat. Governments are battling to introduce price controls on energy at immense cost to their finances. PL has spent € billions to control coal, energy and gas prices for both consumers and businesses. PL has recently opened a pipeline to NO.
          Street lights are being turned off across the EU at night. In BE, lights are off on motorways except near junctions. The immense cost of energy has forced swimming pools to close or Gov to step in with debt-funded subsidy.
          There’s no need to ration gas, people can’t afford to turn it on. It’s effective rationing.
          The cost of the sanctions is colossal. It really is heat or eat for millions.

          • John says:


            “ Street lights are being turned off across the EU at night. In BE, lights are off on motorways except near junctions.”

            Haven’t we been doing this in large parts of England and Wales for years already? A consequence of Cameron-Osborne Austerity 1.0 as I recall. See also the closure of libraries, local authority swimming pools and local amenities of all variety — long before the energy crisis.

          • His Holyness says:

            That’s right. It can also be for the excuse of the climate emergency.
            It’s interesting to keep an eye on bakeries. Prices for bread and baked goods are very high across the EU. For example, the Bäcker und Konditorenvereinigung’s Members are struggling and go to the wall. In France prices have gone nuts and say they cannot survive with these costs.
            France has 6% inflation and we are told in the UK how Macron has fixed prices and is helping a lot? A bakery said ‘I had negotiated my contract at 77.96 euros per Mw/h. Next year, we will increase to 228 euros. It’s almost tripled ‘For its small business, it represents more than 30,000 euros in charges per year’ ‘.
            ‘Butter has increased by 100%’
            Macron warns that unless they get 10% reduction in energy use there will be rationing. A recent article warned mobile networks would go down due to power cuts as there is no backup supply. Enedis (bit like national grid or DCUSA) warns of two hour power cuts and has published a rota. Just like ESEC.
            The situation in the EU was always poorly reported in the UK due to rose-tinted specs.
            To get a better picture, use Google Translate to construct phrases on news articles, and then translate back with Chrome or something. It will become clear that in numerous Member States the situation is worse than in the UK.
            As I said already, its about heat or eat. Never mind the stocks are “full” with gas, it’s too expensive to use it.

  • QwertyKnowsBest says:

    Think Rob popped this article in for some weekend amusement from the comments.

    • Bagoly says:

      Like this?
      Per Sky, Johnson flew in Economy when there were spaces up front.
      Good for BA to not upgrade him (although they may have offered)
      Sad that it’s considered good politics to endure such treatment.

      • VinZ says:

        I thought exactly the same! For ten that BA gets wrong this was spot on. I hope he wasn’t upgraded once the flight took off.

  • ADS says:

    “Trevelyan agreed and indicated that the proposals from her predecessor were likely to be dropped.”

    All she said was “I was agree with you [Ben Bradshaw]”
    That’s not quite the same as indicating that proposals were likely to be dropped – they could just be amended / improved.


    • Mike Hunt says:

      Gosh thank goodness our meetings at work aren’t recorded !

      • Andrew. says:

        Everything done on Teams etc is though.

        If you’ve got the right add-ins, auto-minute or auto-transcribe too. Or worse, auto-minute/auto-transcribe with live notification function.

        Ping – “You’ve just been mentioned in this meeting!”

  • Andrew. says:

    Everything done on Teams etc is though.

    If you’ve got the right add-ins, auto-minute or auto-transcribe too. Or worse, auto-minute/auto-transcribe with live notification function.

    Ping – “You’ve just been mentioned in this meeting!”

  • James Harper says:

    If I have two bookings a couple of weeks apart, let’s say LHR-ABZ and LHR-CDG and both are subject to a 3+ hour delay on arrival what ridiculous rational does the junta think means that one would cause me less inconvenience than the other? The reality is I have more chance of reaching Paris overland and at speed than I do of reaching ABZ.

    The junta (what else do you call 43% of the vote and an 80 seat majority) are as clueless about this as they are about anything else that affects the lives of ordinary people.

    Equally, if this were to come to pass and BA had to cancel a single flight, every time it would be the domestic one rather than one to an EU destination because they could pay less compensation.

    Utter madness.

  • Brian says:

    Ultimately the EU scheme is a sh1tshow. The compensation amounts are very high, but at the same time (often) very hard to actually recover.

    A scheme which actually paid out lower amounts automatically would be a lot more efficient and fairer. And yet we have all the remoaners out in force screaming blue murder; the mind boggles.

    • Rob says:

      I don’t understand why you think airlines would make it any easier to pay up under one law than another law?

      You can also be pretty sure that it would be set up to excludes all taxes, fees and charges, leaving – for some BA domestics – base fares as low as £2 each way. 25% of that won’t get you far.

      • His Holyness says:

        Enforcement in many EU Member States is often way more difficult in the UK. There’s a reason England and Wales are one of the most well regarded places on Earth to raise legal disputes.

        To be honest, apart from the general ease at getting a hotel plus rebooked (though there’s difficulties there to get diff metal) much of EC261 isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Laws only have value if the agencies setup to enforce, enforce.

        • Will says:

          The real value in EC261 is as a deterrent.
          Airlines are forced to set up to be on time or to have solid contingency plans, and I’d argue it’s been quite effective at achieving that.

          It may well be possible to improve it, but it’s a decent effort.

          And before you accuse me of being a renowned, I voted leave. I personally found it bonkers that the U.K. was printing/borrowing money in order to generate a demand for jobs which basically got met by EU migration while at the same time providing next to no housing or infrastructure for those arrivals.

          It’s a good idea poorly executed but worthy of credit in many places.

  • Bobb says:

    @ VinZ

    “Anarchy then?”

    No Misarchy.

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