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The change in Brexit rules brings more bad news for British travellers

Travelers risk missing out on millions in flight compensation due to post-Brexit rule changes (Image: AFP)

British travelers are expected to lose millions in flight disruption compensation due to rule changes caused by Brexit.

While travelers on board disrupted flights are entitled to hotels and meals if they end their journey in the EU, passengers flying to the UK are no longer automatically entitled to reimbursement of their expenses from airlines in the European Union and can no longer claim Claim €600 (£513) in cash compensation if the airline is responsible for the delay Independent Reports.

The European regulation on air passenger rights, known as EC261, has been enshrined in EU law for 17 years, but the UK's “third country” status following the vote to leave the Union has significantly weakened the rights of British travellers.

A ruling by the European Court of Justice says passengers flying from non-EU locations to UK airports via hubs such as Amsterdam and Paris are no longer entitled to compensation and assistance rights under EU law.

Gatwick Airport, London, UK, 7th July 2023. People queue up at Gatwick Airport to check in for flights.  Thousands of flights in Europe could be delayed or canceled this summer as air traffic controllers threaten to go on strike.  (Photo by: Andy Soloman/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Leaving the EU has significantly weakened the rights of British travelers (Picture: Getty)

However, the ruling only applies to flights from EU countries, meaning flights departing from the UK would fall under UK air passenger rights rules, which are identical to those in Europe.

Every year around four million passengers from non-EU countries fly to Great Britain via EU airports. Even if just 1 per cent of those are delayed or cancelled, the amount of lost compensation amounts to over £20m.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy PC Agency, told The Independent: “It's pretty clear that travelers from a ‘third country' like the UK are now being treated as third-class citizens.” Brexit is worse, we have no rights and are in a worse position than before we left the EU.

“Consumers will puzzle over when they are entitled to compensation or a refund and when they are not.”

“The government should bring more clarity to travel and seek to amend this special transit travel regime to ensure rights are preserved and assistance can be provided in the event of a delay or cancellation.”

The UK government pledged to improve air passenger consumer rights in its publication ‘Benefits of Brexit: How the UK is reaping the benefits of leaving the EU'.

The document states: “We will refocus the UK's approach to airline passenger consumer rights, boost consumer confidence and develop confidence when booking travel by advising on additional, flexible and modern tools to enforce consumer rights.”

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