As Brexit draws near, it is vital travelers know their rights before take-off as the UK’s exit from the EU on March 29, is expected to create disruption at airports.
Those most likely to face confusion are air passengers traveling on flights out of or into the UK on the evening of March 29 (Brexit deadline). These flights have been dubbed “Cinderella flights”, as passengers will be leaving the UK as full EU citizens, but disembarking as “third country nationals” with potentially no right to enter EU countries.
According to legal experts Airhelp, those traveling into or out of the UK during and post-Brexit should know their rights before travel, so that in the event of flight delay or cancellation they are fully aware of available options.
Passengers should regularly check flight status and be prepared for longer check-in lines; allow more time for customs controls; check cancellation and refund policy. Package holidays will continue to be covered by regulations offering vacationers the right to an alternative holiday, or a refund in the event of changes caused by extraordinary circumstances.
At the same time, airlines are making contingency plans ahead of a potential Brexit upset by selling tickets with a stipulation warning that flights from the UK may not be able to operate in the immediate aftermath of Brexit. All airlines will have to refund fares if flights are suspended after Brexit is implemented.
Airhelp goes on to add that there is no need to panic, and underlines that compensation by as much as 600 euros may be applicable if the flight was delayed, cancelled, or in instances of denied boarding within the last three years.
“It is almost unimaginable that the UK will be cut off from the EU, especially with Mediterranean tourism so reliant on British travelers… It remains unclear if British air passengers will continue to have the same rights that they currently have when a flight is delayed, cancelled or boarding is denied,” said Christian Nielsen, chief legal officer at AirHelp.
Nielsen adds that “Brexit or no-Brexit, the UK must come to an aviation agreement… Our hope is that the UK government adopts a similar provision to the regulation EC 261, like Norway, Iceland and Switzerland and that the government will not use its power to pass on adopting regulation that helps millions of passengers gain the compensation they are entitled to each year”.