Wizz Air to reassess rejected flight disruption cost claims

Claims relating to flights scheduled from March 18 2022 will be automatically reviewed.

Rejected claims for costs incurred by Wizz Air passengers during flight disruption are to be reassessed.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the carrier has committed to reconsider claims it received for money owed to cover the cost of replacement flights, transfers between airports, and assistance such as hotels.

This is in relation to Wizz Air flights due to operate to or from the UK which were cancelled or significantly delayed.

Claims relating to flights scheduled from March 18 2022 will be automatically reviewed.

Customers can request that claims for flights before that date are also reopened, as long as the scheduled travel date was within the last six years.

Wizz Air was the worst airline for UK flight delays in the past two years.

The CAA said it had “significant concerns” over the volume of complaints made about the carrier after many passengers believed it failed to meet its legal obligations around ensuring they reached their destination when a flight was cancelled.

This is likely to have contributed to a large number of county court judgments – which are orders to pay money owed – found against Wizz Air over the last nine months.

Airlines which cancel flights are required to cover the cost of replacement flights, enabling a traveller to reach their destination if an airline cancels a flight and cannot provide an alternative in a timely manner.

The regulator has instructed Wizz Air to make changes to its policies and procedures for how it treats passengers during disruption.

CAA joint-interim chief executive Paul Smith said: “This enforcement action sends a clear message that airlines must meet their obligations to passengers when they cancel or delay a flight.

“We will not hesitate to step in if we believe that airlines are not consistently doing this.

“Passengers have every right to expect their complaints and claims to be resolved quickly and efficiently and to be treated fairly by airlines, in line with regulations.

“We made it clear to Wizz Air last year that the way it was treating passengers was unacceptable.

“We will continue to watch the situation closely to check that passengers receive what they are owed and that Wizz Air’s policies have improved, so that consumers have a better experience if things go wrong.”

Wizz Air’s UK managing director, Marion Geoffroy, said: “Last summer, like all airlines in Europe, Wizz Air faced unprecedented operating challenges, driven mostly by the external environment, including ATC (air traffic control) disruptions, airport constraints and staff shortages across the whole supply chain.

“As a result, we were unable to meet our own high standards of service.

“Flights were too often late or cancelled, disruption management overwhelmed our internal and external resources, and claims took too long to process and pay.

“We have learned from this experience and have taken significant steps to make our operation more robust and customer-centric.

“We expect this summer to be challenging for air traffic control, which will impact airlines.

“While we cannot anticipate every disruption, we have invested over £90 million to prepare for increased air traffic.

“We are confident that we have taken the right steps to better support passengers this summer season.”

Wizz Air said its flight reliability was “well above the industry average” in the first half of 2023.

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