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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

At a glance

  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority has released the Aviation Trends report, which shows passenger numbers at the UK’s airports grew in 2023 for the third year in a row and are now approaching pre-pandemic figures.

  • Statistics show 276 million passengers passed through UK airports during 2023, an increase of 23 per cent on 2022. 

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is reminding travellers of their rights and offering essential advice for those looking to book last minute trips this Easter, as new data shows continued passenger demand for flights. 

Sunset skyline at London City Airport with plane taking off.
London City Airport skyline.

The regulator’s Aviation Trends report shows passenger numbers at the UK’s airports grew in 2023 for the third year in a row, and are now approaching pre-pandemic figures. 

Statistics show 276 million passengers passed through UK airports during 2023, an increase of 23 per cent on 2022. 

On time performance of flights improved in 2023 compared with the previous year, with 64 per cent of flights operating within 15 minutes of their scheduled time, but on time flight performance remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels of 75 per cent in 2019. 

With further demand expected in 2024, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has set out several top tips for consumers booking trips and is reminding passengers of their rights when travelling.  

The regulator is also reminding airports and airlines of their obligations to passengers and ensuring they deliver the best possible service through the year. 

Anna Bowles, Head of Consumer at the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: 

“As passenger demand for flights continues to rise, we want to make sure consumers are protected by equipping them with essential advice and ensuring they are aware of their rights before they go on holiday. 

“Whether it’s understanding ATOL protection or knowing what they’re entitled to in the event of delays or cancellations, we want to make sure everyone can enjoy their holidays with confidence and peace of mind.” 

More information on consumer issues can be found on the UK Civil Aviation Authority website. 

Your rights when your flight is disrupted 

  • If your flight is delayed your airline has a duty of care to look after you. This can include providing food and drink, as well as accommodation if you are delayed overnight. 
  • If your flight is cancelled you should be offered a choice of a refund or alternative travel arrangements at the earliest opportunity or an alternative date suitable for you. This can include flights on other airlines, or a new flight at a later date at the passenger's convenience. 

Your rights when travelling 

  • If you require special assistance, make your airline aware and arrive early at the airport. Staff at accessibility points will help travellers with reduced mobility with their journeys. More information can be found on the UK Civil Aviation Authority website.  
  • Check your baggage allowance and contents to avoid unexpected fees or having to give up personal goods. Airlines will have weight allowances for luggage, and safety restrictions at airports may limit the amount of liquid allowed onboard and prohibit certain items. 
  • Lost, delayed or damaged luggage is the responsibility of the airline and the amount of compensation you should receive will depend on the value of what you have lost. Most airlines will reimburse you for the bare essentials you need to buy when your bag is delayed. More information can be found here. 
  • If you have complained to an airline and are not happy with the response you can contact the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service. Where an airline is not signed up to the ADR service, passengers can escalate their concern to the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Passenger Advice and Complaints Team. 
  • The Department for Transport also has an Aviation Passenger Charter, which is a guide to the rights and responsibilities of air passengers. 

Top tips when booking your holiday 

  • Make sure your package holiday is ATOL protected for extra financial protection. ATOL protection means you’ll get support and financial help in the unlikely event your travel company stops trading. Consumers can easily check if their package trip is ATOL protected by using the Check for ATOL tool on ATOL.org. 
  • Do your research on your travel company before you book, particularly if it is a company you haven’t travelled with before and shop around with other providers to check it really is a good deal. 
  • Use a credit card for holiday bookings if possible - it may provide additional protection for your trip, under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. 
  • Book travel insurance which can provide extra protection if the holiday doesn’t work out quite as intended. It can protect against a range of mishaps relating from missed transport and medical emergencies through to items lost or stolen when travelling. The type of cover will vary so always carefully check the insurance terms and conditions for full details of cover. 
  • Check you have a valid passport for the dates you are travelling. You’ll need to renew your passport if there’s either less than three months left on your passport at any time while travelling, or your passport’s issue date is 10 years old or more on the day you enter an EU country. You can check if your passport is valid for your upcoming trip on GOV.UK. 

Notes to editors 

  • The UK Civil Aviation Authority is the UK’s aviation and aerospace regulator. We work so that the aviation industry meets the highest safety standards and consumers have choice, value for money, are protected and treated fairly when they fly.