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Consumer Protection

The spread of heavy consumer protection regimes around the world is a worrying trend in aviation policy. 

While offering protection for consumers is a good thing, the purpose of many of these regulations appears to be to “defend” passengers from airlines. This results in rules which reduce consumer protection and convenience – through higher fares, less choice, and more confusion.

That's why the industry is looking to engage passengers and policy-makers in a conversation to change the debate, based on our shared aims and priorities. This new mindset will contribute a fresh perspective to the global conversation on consumer protection.

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Airlines, passengers, and governments have a shared goal

Getting to destinations comfortably and on-time - airlines are committed to looking after their customers and, due to the fiercely competitive market, are highly incentivized to do so. In this short video Chaitan Jain from IATA External Affairs explains why.

 
 

Partnering to strike the right balance 

Airlines already have many policies in place to ensure passengers are looked after, for instance the voluntary commitment (pdf) to repatriate passengers in Europe. IATA members have also unanimously agreed core principles on consumer protection (pdf). These examples, and others, show that the industry is able to safeguard passenger interests without the need for prescriptive government regulation. 

It is vital that governments, regulators and the flying public understand the balance between protecting consumer rights and protecting sustainable air services. Appropriate regulations, globally coordinated, can give passengers confidence while ensuring the freedom to fly.

Rather than regulations “defending” passengers, they should be framed as a partnership between consumers and the industry, aimed at encouraging competition, innovation, consumer confidence and enhanced air connectivity.

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