Passengers on delayed flights at Manchester Airport were eligible for up to £63m in compensation last year, but only applied for £1m, The Manchester Evening News has reported.
According to legal experts, passengers are not aware of their rights and entitlements to claim damages appropriately, but they added that it is not too late to claim.
According to the EU rules, anyone stranded at the airport for three hours or more can claim up to £505, depending on how far they are travelling. The airline may have to offer the affected passengers a package including food, drinks, two phone calls and, if delayed overnight, a hotel room with transport there and back. It is the individual airline and not the airport that is liable.
Between January and October 2013, an average of 0.8 percent of Manchester Airport departures and arrivals were delayed for more than three hours. Of those, less than 2 percent have submitted a claim, and those that claimed won an average pay-out of GBP380.
Henrik Zilmer, head of legal online service, Airhelp, said: ‘It’s actually been 10 years since the law to claim was implemented, but it’s complicated and a lot of airlines don’t inform passengers they have the right to claim.
‘Passengers should not just accept a GBP20 voucher or a free sandwich – they should be getting their compensation.’
Pointing out that compensation claims could still be made retrospectively, Zilma added, ‘If you have been delayed for more than three hours in the last six years on any airline in the UK you could still claim and there could be compensation landing in your inbox.’
Andy Peters, the legal manager at Bott & Co, said: ‘The majority of people just aren’t aware they have the right to pursue claims – even though air carriers are supposed to point it out.’
A British Airways spokeswoman said: ‘British Airways is aware of our obligations under the EU regulations. We continue to comply with them and look after our customers.’
An EasyJet spokeswoman said: ‘EasyJet does everything possible to care for its passengers and always complies with its obligations under EU261.’