Wizz ordered by CAA to revisit rejected flight disruption claims

Wizz Air compensation claims
By Linsey McNeill
27/07/2023
Home » Wizz ordered by CAA to revisit rejected flight disruption claims

Wizz Air has been told by the Civil Aviation Authority to make changes to its policies and procedures to make sure it is complying with its re-routing and care obligations when flights are cancelled or delayed.

The budget airline has also been ordered to re-look at all rejected claims submitted by passengers on or after 18 March 2022.

And the CAA said passengers whose claims were rejected for flights due to depart from or to the UK before 18 March 2022 can request their claims to be reopened, as long as the flights were no more than six years ago.

This means that Wizz could be forced to pay-out claims for flights as far back as the summer of 2017.

As part of the enforcement action, Wizz Air will be required to provide information to the regulator about its review of closed expenses claims and the CAA will review a sample of the re-examined claims so it can check that passengers receive what they are owed.

The CAA said it had taken enforcement action against Wizz Air following ‘significant concerns over high volumes of complaints about the airline not paying passengers what they are owed’.

It said it has been in contact with Wizz for several months after complaints by passengers that their rights had not been met when flights were cancelled or delayed.

“Passengers were left very frustrated because they believed the airline had failed to meet its passenger rights obligations – particularly around providing alternative flights to enable passengers to get to their destinations when their flight had been cancelled,” it said.

“This is likely to have contributed to a large number of County Court Judgements (CCJs) which have been found against Wizz Air over the last nine months.”

In a statement issued this morning, Wizz said it has signed a deed of undertaking with the CAA to improve its service.

It said it had also pledged to resolve all customer claims within 45 days, make 120% credit refunds within 24 hours and process 100% of ticket refunds within seven working days.

Wizz said it had paid more than 70% of County Court Judgements, another 10% are in the process and the remaining 20% are being ‘identified and processed’. 

“Last summer, like all airlines in Europe, Wizz Air faced unprecedented operating challenges, driven mostly by the external environment, including ATC disruptions, airport constraints and staff shortages across the whole supply chain,” said Wizz Air UK MD Marion Geoffroy.

“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 pay and process.

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

“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 said it has added spare aircraft capacity this summer and increased staffing, built increased time into crew rosters, doubled its operations team and implemented a new AI-based tool to forecast and mitigate possible disruptions.

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