Complaining about airports and airlines


How to make a complaint about an airport or airline

Aviation Dispute Resolution (a division of The Retail Ombudsman) is approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (the aviation regulator) to operate as an ADR body for consumers who use the services of an airport and/or airline. If you’ve had a dispute with an airport or airline and are looking to escalate your complaint for a swift resolution we are here to help you get your dispute resolved.

Before making a complaint

Please note that to be eligible to make a complaint against an airport or airline, you must have already complained to the airport or airline directly in writing and either received a final written response (sometimes referred to as a ‘deadlock letter’) or given the airline eight (8) weeks to respond to your dispute. The Retail Ombudsman can only deal with unresolved complaints.

Which complaints does the airline sector cover?

The airline sector covers complaints against any major airlines, budget airlines or international airlines where the flight in question arrived or departed (or was due to arrive/depart) from a UK airport.

For more information about Airline Dispute Resolution, please view our FAQ page.

Aviation Dispute Resolution is an independent and impartial organisation that specialises in resolving disputes between consumers and airports and consumers and airlines.

Our members are bound by our Membership Rules and Scheme Rules, part of which states that they will be bound by any decision that we make.

Our role is to ensure all parties receive a fair and reasonable outcome. To ensure that Aviation Dispute Resolution maintains this at all times an Independent Standards Board monitors its recommendations and determinations.

Who we can hear complaints about?

Aviation Dispute Resolution can accept complaints about any of our members listed on this website.

We can deal with most disputes between consumers and airlines, including disputes in relation to:

  • Denied boarding, delayed or cancelled flights
  • Damaged, lost or delayed luggage
  • Destruction, damage or loss of items worn or carried by a passenger
  • Problems faced by disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility
  • Issues of unfair trading
  • Pricing
  • Misrepresentation

Complaints we cannot deal with – IMPORTANT NOTES:

1) Before lodging a complaint with Airline Dispute Resolution you must first have complained direct to the airline and given them up to eight weeks to respond.
2) Complaints to Airline Dispute Resolution can be submitted without the need for any independent advice or third party representation.

We can deal with most disputes between consumers and airlines, including disputes in relation to:

  • Denied boarding, delayed or cancelled flights
  • Denied boarding, delayed or cancelled flights
  • Damaged, lost or delayed luggage
  • Destruction, damage or loss of items worn or carried by a passenger
  • Problems faced by disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility
  • Issues of unfair trading
  • Pricing
  • Misrepresentation

We can deal with most disputes between consumers and airports, including complaints from passengers with reduced mobility where the nature of the complaint is that the airport has failed to provide adequate provision or has discriminated against the consumer.

Complaints we cannot deal with – IMPORTANT NOTES:

1) Before lodging a complaint with us you must first have complained direct to the airport or airline and given them up to eight weeks to respond.
2) Complaints to Aviation Dispute Resolution can be submitted without the need for any independent advice or third party representation.

There are three ways to bring your complaint to Airline Dispute Resolution;

1. By post – if you do not have access to the Internet you can telephone 0203 540 8063 and ask one of our team members to post a complaint form to you. Send your completed form to Airline Dispute Resolution, 12 Walker Avenue, Stratford Office Village, Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes, MK12 5TW.

2. Online – if you have access to the Internet you can file your complaint via our online portal. To access this, simply go to the homepage of the website and click on ‘File your complaint’. As soon as you have filed your complaint you will be taken to your own personal portal page. This page provides you with live information about your claim so that you can check the progress at any time of day.

3. By Telephone – by contacting our Aviation initial complaints team on 0203 540 8063.

Note: Upon submission of your complaint one of our Complaint Handlers will firstly determine whether your complaint falls within Aviation Dispute Resolution’s jurisdiction. If it does not we will not be able to deal with your complaint and we will notify you in writing, within 21 days, of the reasons why.

Once accepted, your complaint will go through a 5-step procedure as shown below. You will be kept up-to-date with the progress of your complaint either via your personal online portal (if you have Internet access) or via post.

We will attempt to resolve your complaint initially by making a recommendation for a resolution to both yourself and the airport/airline. If either party disagrees with the recommendation, your complaint will be passed to an ombudsman for a final determination.

We aim to process all complaints within 60 days.

Consumers are not bound by our recommendations or determination unless you agree to be bound. If you do not agree to be bound and you are unhappy with the outcome, you can still take your complaint elsewhere (such as to court).

It’s important that you complete the complaint form as thoroughly as possible and that you provide as much supporting evidence as possible, such as:

  • Receipts
  • Photographs

Airline Dispute Resolution scheme rules

Please click here to download the Airline Dispute Resolution scheme rules (PDF)

Airline Dispute Resolution is an authorised ADR provider

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