• The CAA Consumer Panel was established in October 2012. The Panel has internal independence from the CAA and acts as a ‘critical friend’, scrutinising and challenging all of the CAA’s work.

    The main aim of the panel is to be a champion for the interests of consumers and our members have a very broad range of skills and experience in this area. Collectively, the Panel has a deep understanding of the regulatory environment both through the development of policy in the consumer interest, and through practical experience of how business best operates within a regulatory framework. The Panel brings strategic thinking and outstanding analytical aptitude, and the ability to apply these in a practical way to improve the experience for consumers in this important industry.

    The key activities of the Panel are to:

    • help the CAA to understand fully, and take account of, the interests of consumers in its policy development and decisions.
    • use existing CAA research, request the CAA to undertake new targeted research, and to gather intelligence, to understand the aviation consumer experience.
    • provide the CAA with feedback from a consumer perspective on the effectiveness of its policies and practices.
    • help the CAA develop its approach to consumer engagement to inform its work.
    • challenge the CAA on behalf of aviation consumers, as appropriate, and if required, through publicly available written notices, in order to positively influence outcomes for passengers.
    • maintain an overview of developments in the aviation market from a passenger perspective and developments affecting consumers in other markets.

    The Panel welcomes correspondence from consumers about their experience of the aviation sector, including the work of the CAA. However, while we may use feedback from consumers to inform our thinking and our advice to the CAA, we are not a complaints handling or consumer advice service and are unable to enter into correspondence with individuals.

    If you need advice and assistance, including if you are not satisfied with a complaint you have made an airline or an airport, please contact the CAA’s Passenger Advice and Complaints Team.

    Contact us

    Consumer Panel
    Civil Aviation Authority
    CAA House
    45-59 Kingsway
    London WC2B 6TE

    Email: consumerpanel@caa.co.uk

  • The CAA Consumer Panel membership brings together strategic thinking and outstanding analytical aptitude and the ability to apply these in a practical way to improve the experience for commercial air passengers.

    Jenny Willott, Chair

    Jenny was Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central for ten years, serving as Consumer Affairs Minister, with responsibilities including consumer policy, competition policy and employment law, Women and Equalities Minister and as a Government Whip.  She is now the Director of Enterprise and Innovation at St Mary's University, Twickenham, and a Non-Executive Director for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.  Prior to entering Parliament she worked in the voluntary sector, including as Chief Executive of Victim Support South Wales and Head of Advocacy for UNICEF UK.

    Sarah Chambers

    Sarah is an expert in regulation, competition and consumer policy. She was Chief Executive of Postcomm, the postal services regulator, and held various senior roles in the Department of Business Innovation & Skills (including Director of Consumer & Competition Policy) and the Department of Energy & Climate Change. She is currently a Panel Member and non-executive director of the Competition & Markets Authority, and has a number of other public appointments and non-executive roles.

    Helen Dolphin MBE 

    Helen is a committed campaigner on improving transport for disabled people. After becoming disabled in her early twenties Helen trained as a journalist and worked for ITV Anglia News as a news reporter. She followed this by taking up the role of Director of Policy and Campaigns for a national disabled charity. Helen now works as an independent mobility specialist advising government, public, commercial and professional bodies on how to improve accessibility. She recently gained a degree in law and carries out equality law work for Fry Law. Helen is a member of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), Chair of the Joint Committee on the Mobility of Disabled People (JCMD) and Chair of her local mobility assessment centre East Anglia Driveability (EAD).

    Robert Laslett

    Robert is an independent economist who retired in 2012 from being Executive Director at the Office of Fair Trading. He is member of the Independent Governance Committee of Zurich Insurance, a member of the Council of the Pensions Policy Institute, a visiting senior lecturer at University College London, a volunteer adviser at Citizens Advice, and chair of the board of On Our Radar, a non-profit company undertaking citizen journalism. He was Chief Economist for Pensions at the Department for Work and Pensions, headed the London office of economic consultancy Charles River Associates, and worked as a country economist and risk specialist at the World Bank.

    Trisha McAuley OBE

    Trisha is an independent consumer expert and an experienced Non-Executive Director.  For over twenty years, until 2014, she was a senior executive in UK and Scottish consumer organisations, and is the former Scottish Director of Consumer Futures. She was awarded an OBE for services to consumer affairs in 2015. She has been an influential public policy leader, working effectively with parliaments, governments, regulators, business and public services at strategic level.

    Trisha is currently the Chair of Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership. She is also a Board Member of Northern Ireland Water, A Board Member of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland Discipline Board, a Member of the Ofgem Gas Network Innovation Competition Panel, a Member of the Ofgem Consumer Progress Panel, a Member of the Office of the Rail and Road Regulator Consumer Expert Panel, and a Member of the Heathrow Consumer Challenge Board.

    Walter Merricks CBE

    Walter's career over the past 20 years has involved work with ombudsman and complaint services, competition and consumer protection systems and regulatory bodies in the retail financial services, gambling, surveying and legal services, press, telecoms, energy, copyright licensing and ATOL protection sectors. He was the inaugural Financial Ombudsman and worked with the FSA consumer panel between 1999-2009. He recently served for six years on the board of the Gambling Commission, and now chairs the boards of IMPRESS (the Independent Monitor for the Press), and of JUSTICE, the law reform charity.

    Anthony Smith

    Anthony is the Chief Executive of Transport Focus. Having qualified as a solicitor, Anthony worked for five years as principal consumer lawyer for Which? This was followed by a year as the legal consultant for Consumers International, a worldwide federation of consumer groups. Prior to joining Passenger Focus, Anthony was deputy and acting director of ICSTIS, the regulator of premium rate telephone services.

    Claire Whyley

    Claire is a professional researcher and policy analyst, focusing on consumer behaviour and decision-making, consumer protection and consumer-focused regulation. She specialises in user-led, evidence-based and impact-focused policy development, across a range of markets, with a particular interest in vulnerable and excluded consumers. She has delivered a number of research projects focussing especially on people with low or unstable incomes and customers in arrears. She recently completed a multi-sector review of best practice in debt collection and recovery looking, in particular, at preventative pre-arrears strategies to support consumers to avoid serious financial difficulties and a study of local authorities' council tax collection practices. Claire is also a member of a number of other Boards and Consumer Panels, including the Advertising Advisory Committee, the Finance and Leasing Association Lending Code Board, and is a Trustee of the Money Advice Trust. Claire previously completed two terms as a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel and was Deputy Director of Policy at the National Consumer Council.