Thousands of passengers have scored a significant victory against budget airline Wizz Air, as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reveals a landmark compensation payout of £1.2 million.
As reported by The Guardian, this development comes after years of persistent complaints by travelers, culminating in a first-of-its-kind enforcement action initiated by the CAA in July of last year.
As of Wednesday, approximately 6,000 passengers have received compensation, averaging over £200 each. The enforcement process was triggered by reports of Wizz Air rejecting refund claims for canceled flights and failing to meet other obligations, such as providing alternative flights after cancellations.
Consumer Director at the CAA, Paul Smith, highlighted the success of the claims, emphasizing that this outcome validates the regulatory intervention.
The enforcement action allowed passengers to request reviews of cases dating back to 2016, resulting in more than 25,000 claims being re-examined. Nearly one in four claims were successful, surpassing the CAA’s initial expectation of reopening 15,000 cases.
The aviation watchdog conducted sample checks on claims to ensure passengers received due compensation, providing reassurance that Wizz Air met its air passenger rights obligations.
Wizz Air, previously named the UK’s worst airline by consumer body Which?, faced criticism over customer service issues, including stranded passengers due to canceled flights and fees charged at airports for technical problems with the airline’s website.
A spokesperson for Wizz Air expressed satisfaction with the CAA’s recognition of the airline’s efforts to improve customer performance.
Despite facing operational challenges in the summer of 2022, the spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to ongoing improvements in 2024 and beyond, citing a positive uptick in customer satisfaction scores.
This landmark compensation payout serves as a crucial precedent for consumer rights in the airline industry, signaling a shift toward increased accountability and improved experiences for air travelers.
[With information sourced from The Guardian]