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EasyJet passengers could lose out in flight compensation merry-go-round

Pay-outs fall dramatically in the month after easyjet switches adjudication schemes

Almost two thirds of easyJet passengers who have used its new adjudication scheme in the first few weeks have been told they’re not entitled to flight delay or cancellation compensation.

Until May this year easyJet passengers who had a severely delayed or cancelled flight, but were refused compensation, could complain to the officially accredited CEDR scheme.

CEDR ruled that easyJet passengers were in the right, on average, 82% of the time in 2018. The airline was told to pay its passengers more than £2m over the course of the year and almost a million in the first quarter of 2019 alone.

However, on 20 May easyJet left CEDR and joined rival scheme AviationADR. The first statistics since this move indicates that the number of disputes ruled in favour of passengers has fallen significantly. AviationADR found in favour of easyJet passengers just 38% of the time.


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EasyJet responds

EasyJet strongly denies that it has left CEDR because of the rulings against it. It said: ‘We would never and could never select a provider based on how we would believe they would rule – all suppliers apply the same test under Regulation (EC) 261/2004 – so it would be wrong for Which? to suggest that.’  It argued that the statistics were not meaningful or accurate because they only represent the first full month of claims.

EasyJet also claimed that the move will benefit consumers as It says that, thanks to AviationADR’s technology, passengers will receive their money more quickly when they get a favourable ruling. It added: ‘We are conscious that CEDR levies a charge of £25 to consumers where their claim has been wholly unsuccessful. AviationADR levies no such charge.’

Tui also jumps ship

Following easyJet’s lead, Tui have also recently left CEDR to join AviationADR. CEDR ruled against Tui 85% of the time in the most recent statistics and told it to pay out almost a million pounds in the first quarter of 2019 alone. We do not yet have statistics for AviationADR’s rulings against the company.

AviationADR’s website states that in the first three quarters of 2018 it ruled in favour of passengers across all its airlines just 28% of the time. We put this to AviationADR and it told us that this data was not accurate. It said that the true figures are on the CAA’s website, where it’s shown as ruling in favour of the passenger between 49% and 56% of the time for the same period.

Aviation ADR responds

AviationADR told us that many factors could influence the uphold rate of complaints including events such as extraordinary weather or operational issues at the airline. It rejects our findings and disputes that any meaningful analysis or conclusions can be drawn from the preliminary data available, which represents only one month of easyJet adjudications.

Broken flight compensation scheme

Until 2016 all airline complaints had to go to the CAA. However the CAA’s rulings are purely advisory and airlines could only be compelled to pay compensation by the courts.

In response, the CAA authorised not-for-profit organisations CEDR and AviationADR to handle complaints instead. But it’s a system that has, as Which? Travel has previously reported, been failing many passengers since the beginning.

Airlines are now allowed to choose who handles their complaints. British Airways, Thomas Cook, easyjet and Tui initially chose CEDR. Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic, Wizz and many small airlines chose Aviation ADR.

However, with Tui and easyJet’s defection, BA is now the only major airline to remain with CEDR. Other airlines have chosen not to have an official adjudicator at all. In which case complaints, as in the case of Jet2, are handled by the CAA. Ryanair recently left AviationADR and its cases are now handled by the CAA.

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