Will Flight Delay Compensation cause flights to become more expensive? | FairPlane UK / 18.04.2016

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Will Flight Delay Compensation cause flights to become more expensive? | FairPlane UK image

Airlines don't want to pay you any flight delay compensation as the sums involved appear to be very large.

If everyone on board a long haul flight claimed the €600 they were entitled to then just one flight carrying 350 passengers could cost the airline €210,000. With the large Airbus 380s, this sum could rise to a whopping €360,000. Surely these sorts of figures are going to mean that the cost of flights are going to rocket.

Well, no.

First, only 0.7% of flights are delayed by 3 hours or more in the UK or cancelled. This equates to around 16,000 flights and approximately 3,000,000 passengers.

Of those 16,000 flights, around a third of the delays would be within the airline's control. The rest may have been delayed due to the weather, air traffic control strikes, ash clouds etc. Those reasons would be considered to be exceptional and so you could not make a flight delay compensation claim.?So of the 125,000,000 passengers flying in the UK each year, approximately 1,000,000 could make a claim for flight delay compensation.

The amount each passenger can claim depends on the distance travelled with the sum ranging from €250 to €600. The average is €425 or ?340 per passenger. If everyone who could claimed did make ?a claim, the cost to the airline industry would be €340m per year. Wow!

Hold on though, how much would this cost per passenger across all flights - well €340m divided by 125m passengers per year equals €2.72 per ticket.  In reality, the vast majority of the million people each year actually make a claim for flight delay compensation. Currently the rate is around 10%. So, it is costing the airlines about just 27p per ticket at the moment!

Even if 50% of people made a claim then this would only equate to ?1.36 per ticket so hardly noticeable.

Here is a final sobering thought though: Ryanair have been adding a surcharge of ?2 to all of its tickets since 2011 to cover the cost of having to pay out flight delay compensation. We estimate that they have only had to pay out around 27p per ticket so they are actually making a profit from the surcharge!

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