First, you should take your complaint directly to the airline or airport. Be aware not all airlines will deal with your complaint if you use services such as Resolver or Claims Management Companies.
If you have already done this and are dissatisfied with the response they have provided, you can refer your complaint:
- To an alternate dispute resolution (ADR) body
- If the airline or airport does not have an agreement with an ADR, you can refer your complaint to the CAA
- Or take direct legal action
For a visual representation of this process, see our process diagram.
Both ADR bodies and PACT will advise you on whether they think you have a valid complaint, and if so will take it up with the business concerned. However, PACT cannot impose a decision on an airline while CAA-approved ADR bodies can.
Before contacting either, you will need to have written to the company concerned first, and provide either the ADR body or PACT with all the relevant information. Make sure you read these webpages carefully to avoid unnecessary delays in resolving your complaint.
The CAA recommends that consumers seeking to make a complaint should complain directly to the airline or airport concerned. Although consumers are entitled to use third parties, including claims agencies, to assist them with their complaint, such agencies typically charge consumers a fee for this service which can often be a significant proportion of the compensation amount being sought.
It is important to note that after a recent Court of Appeal ruling, Bott & Co vs Ryanair, consumers must first contact the airline directly, or in case of using a third party, ensure that the complaint is in their name or otherwise the airline may reject the complaint on the grounds of breaching their T&Cs.
The European Commission has published an Information Note for passengers making claims under Regulation 261/2004 to protect them and help them to make informed choices if they are considering using a claims agency. The key points made by the Commission are that:
- Consumers should always seek to contact the airline first
- Claim agencies must clearly display the price of their services, i.e. showing an initial price on their website which includes all applicable fees
- Claim agencies must be able to produce a clear power of attorney signed by the consumer
- Claim agencies should not resort to persistent unsolicited telemarketing
- Personal data should not be transmitted to claims agencies without permission from the consumer and must be appropriately protected