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Minimum hours of delays raised for flights UK?

Will the minimum limit for flight delays be increased for flights from the UK and other EU countries? That is the key question after the European Commission's proposal this month. On March 13, the European Commission presented its proposal to amend Regulation 261/2004. This Regulation represents the legislation that protects the rights of air passengers in the event of flight delays and cancellations. Most of the changes in the proposal would be positive for passengers if the amendment would pass, but there is one key point that would turn out to be bad news for consumers. It is now down to the European Parliament: how will the MEPs vote?

Proposed amendments rights air passengers flights UK and other

A number of important revisions are included in the European Commission's proposal. Most of these changes would be in alignment with the ruling of the European Court of Justice and therefore come as no surprise. The amended Regulation would also include the entitlement of the rights of passengers who experience a delay of three hours or more due to a missed connection.

Technical errors will be defined further, meaning standard operational maintenance will no longer be able to be considered as 'extraordinary circumstances'. 'We will compose a list that will exclude loopholes in legislation,' said Brian Simpson, President of the TRAN. 

The amendment will also formally include the entitlement to compensation of passengers who experience a flight delay. This revision is one of controversy, however, as the European Commission is proposing to amend one key detail. Passengers are currently entitled to compensation when they experience a delay of three or more hours; the EC is proposing to increase this limit to five hours for short flights and to as much as nine or twelve hours for long-distance flights from or to the UK or other EU destinations. Fortunately, many disagree with this revision.

Will rights for flight delays actually change?

Now that the proposal has been presented by the European Commission, it's up to the European Parliament to discuss the matter. A quick survey shows that the MEPs aren't in support of all of the proposed amendments. 

When asked whether the Parliament is likely to increase the minimum limit for delays from three to five hours, Brian Simpson, President of the European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee, stated: “I very much doubt if Parliament would accept such a change. If anything, they might go the other way, because I know MEPs are frustrated with the way some airlines have tried to ignore the regulation.” Dieter Koch, Member of the Parliament for Germany, also indicated to be critical towards the intended amendments; the proposal's critical elements require serious discussion in the Parliament. Koch's German colleague Michael Cramer stated on his website that he would actually be in favour of lowering the limit from three to two hours. He posted a statement on his website that said most of the members of Parliament that had given an initial response to the proposal were in favour of keeping legislation in line with the direction the European Court of Justice has been moving in. Since the Court has been ruling in favour of passenger rights, one could conclude the limit for compensation delays should not be increased to five hours in the opinion of the Parliament. 

MEP for France Dominique Riquet said that the revision would be a step in the right direction for air passenger rights. He also commented that countries outside the EU should also adopt identical legislation in order to protect passengers abroad as well as they are currently protected within the EU. However, this isn't up to the European Parliament.

Written by: Team Flight-Delayed