A Yorkshire-based airline has revealed why it has not joined a new resolution service to deal with complaints from disgruntled passengers ... and hit back strongly at criticism by the Civil Aviation Authority.
It emerged recently that Jet2.com had not joined one of the new passenger dispute resolution services for the airline industry.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had publicly questioned why Jet2.com has “so far inexplicably and persistently refused to sign up.”
The CAA said Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has helped resolve more than 10,000 passenger complaints in the first year of its operation and 35 airlines operating in the UK were now signed up.
It said Leeds-based Jet2.com is the only top 10 UK airline not to have joined.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “ADR is good for UK consumers which is why it is extremely disappointing that Jet2, one of the UK’s largest airlines, has so far inexplicably and persistently refused to sign up, denying their passengers, access to an independent arbitration service.
“Clearly this decision puts Jet2’s customers, and those of other airlines that haven’t yet signed up, at a distinct disadvantage and in many cases could mean their passengers are denied the fundamental rights they are entitled to.”
But Jet2.com has hit back at the criticism and said its current dispute system was better.
In a lengthy statement it says: “As a matter of law participation in ADR is entirely voluntary and this is recognised and accepted by the CAA. If entering into a scheme is optional it is wrong for someone to be criticised for not entering into it.
“Jet2.com has not ignored the availability of ADR but it has instead investigated the pros and cons of ADR, including meeting with CEDR (dispute resolution and mediation service), the leading provider of the ADR adjudication services, on more than one occasion.
“It was only after these evaluations that we decided that ADR is not in our customer’s interests or the interests of Jet2.com. We are not against ADR as such – Jet2holidays is a member of the Association of British Travel Agents’ very effective ADR scheme and is satisfied with the way in which that operates. But having carefully looked at ADR for passenger flight disputes, many of which involve complex factual, technical, operational issues and involved legal interpretation of EU regulations and decisions of the European Court of Justice, we do not think it is appropriate.
“It is true that some other airlines have decided to sign up to ADR. Not all airlines are the same and many are not like Jet2.com and do not have industry-leading processes for dealing with complaints and claims for compensation. Our customer service has been recognised in the many prestigious consumer awards we have received. Some other airlines may not have carried out the careful evaluation which we have so did not understand the problems with ADR before signing up. But in any case, the mere fact that some airlines have signed up to an optional scheme should not be a basis for criticising an airline which considers it is not right to sign up.
“Jet2.com’s customers are able to raise complaints and claims with us and can expect a prompt response. For instance, we pay out valid EC261 flight delay compensation claims with industry-leading speed: valid claims are paid out on average within 14 days. Our analysis shows that ADR is not a good process for resolving disputed claims for EC261 compensation which makes up around 90% of the claims which other airlines’ customers refer to ADR.”