Airlines avoid watchdog action after changing how passengers are treated during disruption

Aer Lingus, Jet2 and Wizz Air have agreed to change some of their procedures. Credit: PA

Three airlines have avoided legal action by a UK watchdog after agreeing to change their rules on how passengers are helped during disruption.

Aer Lingus, Jet2 and Wizz Air's treatment of customers was criticised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which said they were breaking consumer rules.

The regulator had threatened enforcement action against the airlines, but has withdrawn this after they changed their policies.

Budget airlines Jet2 and Wizz Air did not previously consistently pay compensation for disruption caused by technical faults and only paid out for claims when people took them to court within two years, going against Court of Appeal rulings.

Both have now agreed to pay compensation for technical faults, but while Jet2 will process claims going back six years, Hungarian airline Wizz has refused to change its two-year limit. As a result, it has been referred to the Hungarian Authority for Consumer Protection by the CAA.

Wizz Air has refused to change its two-year limit on compensation claims. Credit: PA

The CAA also accused Jet2 and Irish national carrier Aer Lingus of failing to show they proactively gave travellers information about their rights during disruption, something European regulations require them to do. Both have promised to improve the quality of information they provide.

CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: "UK passengers are right to expect that if they experience disruption their airline will look after them.

"During the last year we've stepped in to make sure a number of major airlines change their approaches and improve the support provided to their passengers.

"The results of our recent action are a further boost for UK passengers and we are very pleased to see the changes the airlines involved have made."

A Wizz Air spokesman said: "Wizz is and always has been compliant with regulation EC261 requirements."

Aer Lingus has said it will provide better information to people facing disruption. Credit: PA