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The British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) called out five airlines for denying passengers compensation for flight delays. Among these airlines were two of the “Middle East Three”: Etihad and Emirates.

After a review of passenger complaints, the CAA decided to take action against the offending carriers for denying passengers appropriate compensation for flight delays. Compensation for flight delays and cancellations are part of EU law (SEE: Submitting an EU261 compensation claim for a delayed or cancelled flight).

The CAA found that passengers complained most often about Emirates in regard to lack of compensation from delayed flights. However, Etihad was the one who lashed back at Britain’s watchdog agency.

How did Etihad respond?

Etihad called the CAA “unprofessional” for publicly calling the five airlines out, and vehemently denied that their arline had breached EU passenger compensation law. The UAE based carrier state that they take the compensation law “very seriously”. Which may or may not be true.

In a few of the instances, a delayed Eithad flight out of the EU caused passengers to miss connecting flights, where the connection was *not* leaving the EU. This still ultimately caused passengers to arrive at their destination more than 3 hours late. Whether this should fall under the EU261 law for a non-EU airline is apparently up for debate, however. There is a case currently before the UK court of appeal to resolve the issue.

If air carriers do not fall into line in regard to the EU261 policies, the next step is for the CAA to take the matter to court. If Eithad and Emirates (and other airlines) do not comply with the UK court order, they could face significant fines.

Personally, I am glad that CAA is calling Etihad (and the other carriers) on the carpet for potentially breaking the EU261 regulation. Hopefully this will cause the airlines to comply with the regulations more seriously, rather than brushing customers off. Dan had his own EU261 saga trying to be compensated for an Aer Lingus flight from Boston to Dublin (SEE: 4 (!) months later, I’m still fighting on my EU 261 Aer Lingus claim).

Who are the other airlines singled out by the CAA? Singapore, Turkish, and our very own American Airlines, for which I have no sympathy. Can we also fine American for not releasing reasonable amounts of award space?

Header image courtesy of Richard Vandervord under CC 4.0 license.

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