Problems faced by Airline Passengers: A Global Survey by Consumers International

10/05/2017 13:57

Widespread flight delays and lost luggage have been identified as the key problems faced by consumers during their flights according to a global survey conducted by the Consumers International (CI).

The survey was conducted with 11,000 passengers from eight countries (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain) which included their experiences of more than 20,000 flights during 2016.

The survey revealed one in four flights were delayed and one in ten people have had their luggage lost, damaged or delayed. It also found that where legislation existed to compensate passengers, airlines often didn’t meet their obligations. The members involved in this survey will be now using these results to raise awareness amongst consumers of their rights and hold airlines to account.

Flight delays and cancellations are not merely an inconvenience, they have real world implications. They are a missed business meeting, less time with family, a trip cut short. It is only fair that people affected by cancellations and delays are compensated accordingly and that airlines recognise these responsibilities.

The research findings revealed that 6% of the flights had a delay of at least two hours. Only 46% of the passengers received assistance, such as food and drinks despite being aware of the European Union (EU) regulations which requires airlines to provide assistance.


Airline companies were not successful in complying with their accountability when the delay was over three hours. In 75% of these cases passengers were not reimbursed as per EU law.

10% of delayed passengers suffered some financial loss and in majority of these cases the amount of money lost was over €100 (FJD 231.27), regrettably at present there is no legislation protecting consumers against such financial damage.

In situations where luggage was lost, damaged or delayed, the EU rules covering passengers’ reimbursements were not applied in 85% of the cases. The situation has only slightly improved over the last few years. A similar survey done in 2009 reported 93% of passengers didn’t get reimbursed. There are no common worldwide rules obliging airlines to refund passengers for lost or damaged luggage.

 On the local platform, in Fiji, a total of 13 complaints were recorded with the monetary value of $11,601.32 from 2014 – May 2017, which were regarding flight delays and lost luggage.

 CI members will collectively campaign to raise awareness amongst consumers of their rights and hold airlines to account. This will be done to improve passengers’ understanding regarding their rights and support enforcement of airlines ’obligations to compensate passengers for delays and loss.