If you have already made a written complaint to an airline or airport and you are not satisfied with the outcome or have not received a reply within 8 weeks, the CAA's Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT) may be able to help.
PACT is only likely to consider your complaint if the airline or airport you've complained to is not a member of a CAA-approved ADR body.
Following a review of our complaint handling activities the Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT) will only handle complaints related to:
- UK261 for delayed and cancelled flights, downgrade and denied boarding,
- UK1107 about assistance for disabled and reduced mobility passengers,
- The Montreal Convention for cases of lost, delayed or damaged baggage.
PACT will advise on whether we think you have a valid complaint, and if so will take it up with the business concerned, but we do not have the legal powers to impose a solution on an airline.
If you are dissatisfied with the opinion the CAA has provided, you can take legal action against the airline or airport, but you cannot appeal against the CAA's decision.
In addition, there are strict time limits in relation to taking legal action therefore, we will not handle complaints where there is less than a year to take legal action.
How to submit a claim to the CAA
Please use our online form to send us the details of your complaint against the airline or airport, this will tell you if your complaint is one that we can help you with. You don't have to fill it out all in one go.
Click here to access our online form
In order for us to progress your complaint, we will need copies of your supporting information:
- Copies of letters or emails to the airline/airport
- Copies of the letters the airline/airport sent to you
- Details of your flight (flight number, date, time, route, airline reference, number of passengers on the booking)
- For expenses claims, copies of receipts
For baggage claims specifically:
- Proof of address
- A copy of your Property Irregularity Report (if you have one).
- If your bag was delayed: A list of the first need, essential items that you purchased while without your delayed baggage, along with associated dated and itemised receipts (if your banking details are visible, please ensure they are redacted).
- If your bag was lost: A list of the lost items with associated dated and itemised receipts (if your banking details are visible, please ensure they are redacted). If you no longer hold receipts for these items, please provide information relating to the manufacturers name, product name, product cost, age of the item and further product information from the website of the manufacturer.
- If your baggage was damaged: A list of the damaged items with photos of the damage, as well as associated dated and itemised receipts (if your banking details are visible, please ensure they are redacted). If you no longer hold receipts for these items, please provide information relating to the manufacturers name, product name, product cost and further product information from the website of the manufacturer. If you prefer the item to be repaired, we would require a copy of the repair invoice/estimate.
Scans of these can be uploaded and attached to the online form.
We will send you a response by email to let you know we have received your complaint, but we will be unable to progress it until we have received all of the relevant supporting documentation.
Your complaint will be managed in our iCasework system. For information on the accessibility status of this system please refer to the iCasework Accessibility Statement.
If you are visually impaired and require assistance with logging your claim please do not hesitate to contact the team via email on email@example.com or via phone 0330 022 1916
What to expect
Please note that the below timeframes are a guideline and due to a large increase in the demand for our services our response times are taking longer than usual for us to process your complaint, we appreciate your patience while we work to reduce this.
Our initial assessment of your complaint will take about one week if we have received all of the correct supporting documents from you. If your complaint is within our scope, we will then ask the airline or airport to reassess it in light of the relevant legislation and guidelines.
We should receive a response from the airline or airport within four weeks, although this may vary, and if we challenge the airport or airline for further information it can take another two weeks.
Once we have received all the information we require it will take us five weeks to contact you with a final assessment of your situation. For a visual representation of this process, see our process diagram.
If you are dissatisfied with the opinion the CAA has provided you can take legal action against the airline or airport, but you cannot appeal against the CAA’s decision.
Disruption caused by technical faults
Ordinary technical problems that cause flight disruption, such as component failure or general wear and tear, should not be considered an 'extraordinary circumstance' and compensation should be payable in these cases.
If you have a new claim about a technical disruption, or your airline previously declined your claim due to a technical fault, please contact your airline. If you want, you can use our template letter.
Please be aware that in the UK the legal limit to issue claims at Court is 6 years from the date of the incident in England and Wales and 5 years in Scotland, but we would suggest you contact your airline as soon as possible. If your claim is nearing the 6 year limit, you may wish to consider legal action.
Passengers with a disability or reduced mobility
We can help with complaints about the assistance provided by airports and airlines for flights departing from England, Scotland and Wales and the assistance provided by EU and UK registered airlines on your return journey. Contact us to check what we can do for you.
Complaints from legal representatives
The CAA are unable to process a complaint submitted by a legal representative on behalf of a complainant until a consent form signed by the complainant has been received.
Complaints relating to travel agents and tour operators
If you need to make a claim under the ATOL scheme or have an enquiry about a holiday company please see our ATOL section.
If they are a member of one, you can also contact the company's trade association (e.g. the Association of British Travel Agents or Association of Independent Tour Operators) - these associations have codes of conduct for their members and will offer arbitration services through which you can pursue complaints.
If they are not a member of any organisations you could contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Health related complaints
If you have already made a written complaint to an airline or airport on a health matter and you are not satisfied with the outcome, the CAA Aviation Health Unit may be able to help.
They will need a written letter or email containing all relevant details, and copies of any correspondence, before they can officially take up a complaint, but you are welcome to call them first with any queries.
Civil Aviation Authority
Beehive Ring Road
01293 573 674
Residents of Northern Ireland about a flight in or out of NI
Complaints relating to this should be addressed to the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.
The Consumer Council
Floor 3, Seatem House
28-32 Alfred Street
Write to: Freepost The Consumer Council
Tel: Free Phone 0800 121 6022
Or (028)902 51600
Claim Management Companies
We understand that some consumers use claim management companies to assist with their cases.
The Claim Management Company, Flight Reclaim Ltd, has ceased trading and any ongoing cases registered by this company have been placed on hold. Any consumer that wishes to proceed with their case, or did not receive information from Flight Reclaim Ltd about the conclusion of their case and the Civil Aviation Authority's opinion, can email our passenger advice and complaints team at firstname.lastname@example.org, including their Civil Aviation Authority case reference. The team will update the contact details on the case and proceed with cases that are within the team's remit.
If you have been booked on a flight in the last three years that was cancelled or delayed by over 3 hours, we would like to hear how satisfied you were with your airline's response by filling in our survey.
Our code of practice
This code of practice explains the role of the CAA's Passenger Advice and Complaint Team.
Improving choice and value
One of our key objectives is to improve choice and value when you fly. We aim to promote competitive markets, help you make informed decisions and help you if you have a problem or complaint against an airline or airport.
Dealing with your complaints
We provide advice about your complaints against airlines or airports. We try to help resolve any disputes you have with an airline or airport and ensure you receive what you're legally entitled to.
To do this we aim to be:
- Open. We will share all the information we can with you. If we can't help, we'll tell you promptly and advise if there are any other organisations able to offer assistance.
- Helpful. We aim to answer emails and telephone calls politely and constructively. We are always helpful and courteous.
Although we always strive to provide a response as soon as possible, this is subject to receiving a prompt response from the airline. Our responses may also be delayed during widespread disruption, for instance if UK airports are closed due to snow, when we receive more enquiries than usual.
Where we think that a passenger has a genuine case against an airline, we will do our best to secure a solution as quickly as possible. However, we are not able to resolve all complaints. For example if:
Before complaining, please check whether or not your issue is covered by PACT.
How you can help us
Please review our information on how to resolve travel problems.
Before you contact us regarding a complaint about a flight, also make sure you:
- Review your rights when a flight is disrupted.
- Check that the circumstances of your disruption are covered under EU law.
- Contact your airline directly. We are unable to help unless you have tried to resolve things with the airline first
When you do contact us, to help us deal with your query quickly:
- Be clear about what help you need from us.
- Have your flight details and any correspondence to hand.
- Be polite and reasonable in your dealings with our staff, we reserve the right to end phone calls where abusive language is used.
The information you supply to us will be used by us to provide advice or resolve your complaint. We will use and look after your personal information in accordance with our General Privacy Notice.
If you have a complaint about how we manage your personal information, please tell us. If we cannot resolve the issue you also have the right to refer your complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Complaint about a service
- You can find how to complain about a service you received here.
Handling of sensitive information
Enquiries involving sensitive data about you or another person are handled with care and in accordance with our data protection obligations. For further information see our Fair Processing Notice for more information.
If it is necessary for you to send supporting documents to our offices, it is important that you do not send original documentation as we routinely destroy all paperwork (using a secure method) once it has been scanned into our electronic systems.
Freedom of information
If you wish to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please visit our FOI web pages.
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