Approximately 900 internet years ago in June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in the now infamous Brexit referendum. Ever since then, we’ve tried to keep the citizens of Shoreditch up-to-date on what could change in the future, despite whether you voted to remain or leave. One of the most interesting changes to consider as we approach summer is whether Brexit will impact our future holidays. So, today, we’ll be looking into your rights when it comes to flying and whether it will change in the coming years. Don’t worry, it’s probably not going to be as bad as you think!
EC 261 Flights
The air passenger rights website Flightright indicates that EU regulation currently protects fliers in the event of flight disruption. The regulation, entitled EC 261, was put in place back in 2004 and ensures that passengers who experience long delays, cancellations, missed connections and re-bookings are compensated.
As to what that compensation amounts to Flightright, which has been helping passengers enforce their right for almost a decade, explains that it depends on the distance travelled. While under EC 261, those who have experienced disruptions on flights up to 1500km could receive €250, while others flying up to 3500km could be awarded €400. Anyone on a long-distance flight that will travel over 3500km could receive €600 if their flight plans are disrupted.
Clearly, having these rules in place is extremely important and beneficial to flight customers. So, with Brexit forever looming on the horizon, will UK citizens be unable to claim compensation for flight disruptions in the future?
Earlier in 2019, numerous flight companies finally announced their flight schedules, many of which included what are now being called Cinderella Flights. The term refers to flights that will take off before midnight on March 28 and land on March 29. Why are these dates important? Well, on the 28th the UK will still be a part of the EU, while the next day they will not. So, if a No-Deal Brexit is to occur, chances are the first people to really experience any sort of confusion will be those on a Cinderella Flight.
As if that wasn’t ambiguous enough, turns out there’s even less certainty for those flying to EU countries and elsewhere after Brexit. Of course, there are a number of scenarios we can look into. First off, there’s a chance our government will apply to stay within the EC 261 regulations, and so little will change at all.
Another option is that parliament passes their own modified version of EC 261, something that the Department for Transportation has already hinted towards. As to what these new regulations entail, we can’t be sure but it’s thought that the compensation amount will be significantly lower than €600. Still, better than nothing.
Finally, in a No-Deal world, UK passengers will not be able to claim compensation for their disrupted flight under EC 261 as of March 29. That is unless the airline they are travelling with is bound by the EU law themselves. This will undoubtedly leave passengers vulnerable but, with time, hopefully, a new law would be put in place by our government.
Will Brexit Impact Your Summer Jet-setting?
Unfortunately, speculations and scenarios are all we can offer right now. That said, we absolutely don’t want any of our readers to worry. Much of Europe, mainly the Mediterranean, is reliant on UK tourists so it would be baffling for them to turn jet-setters away. Moreover, even if EC 261 is repealed many other countries including Norway, Iceland and Switzerland do just fine with their own versions of the regulation.
As with all holiday plans, travellers should simply educate themselves on airline policies, keep up to date on their flight status and leave a little bit of extra time around flights just in case.