20th May 2010

Don’t Leave Home Without Your ‘Plane Facts’

70 per cent of passengers feel they don’t know their rights if their flight is delayed or cancelled . This is just one of the findings from the Consumer Council’s latest research report ‘Flights and Rights’ launched today (Thursday, 20 May). The report looks at how much air passengers actually know about their rights and their attitudes towards air travel.

With the prospect of ongoing disruption to flights throughout the summer, the Consumer Council is also launching its new and improved ‘Plane Facts’ guide.  It includes everything passengers need to know about flying and what to do if things go wrong. 

Aodhan O’Donnell, Director of Policy and Education from the Consumer Council said, “Our research shows that not only are people unaware of their rights when travelling by air but many are also reluctant to complain if there’s a problem.  Add to this the fact that many airlines don’t provide passengers with information and assistance when there are delays or cancellations and it is easy to understand why consumers get so frustrated when things go wrong. 

“Some of the key findings of the research report include:

  • Half of all passengers who experience disruption to their travel plans do not get any help from their airline;
  • 85 per cent of passengers who experienced a problem with their airline in the last two years felt they had the right to complaint – but less than half actually made a complaint; and
  • 39 per cent of passengers who book flights online believe the final ticket price is not clear from the beginning of the booking process.

“Our Plane Facts guide will go a long way to equipping passengers with all the information they need about air travel.  It covers a range of topics including planning and booking a flight, connecting flights, delays and cancellations, what a good insurance policy should include and how to complain.  With predictions of long term flight disruption due to volcanic ash, we urge everyone who is planning a trip to get their free copy of Plane Facts from the Consumer Council.  

“Although the report shows that overall passengers are satisfied with the choice of air travel in Northern Ireland and the service they receive, there is room for improvement.  The research has clearly identified areas that the airline industry needs to work on[1].  In our role as the representative of air passengers in NI, we are committed to playing our part and continue to help air passengers become more aware of their rights.  And where passengers have a complaint that they haven’t been able to resolve with their airline, the Consumer Council will continue to act on their behalf.”

Passengers can request a free copy of Plane Facts from the Consumer Council by phoning 0800 121 6022, e-mailing [email protected] or they can download a free copy from  Passengers can also contact the Consumer Council via facebook (Consumer Council Northern Ireland) or twitter (@ConsumerCouncil).  Handy travel wallets are also available on request.


  1. Consumer Council media contact: Paula Gunn, telephone, 028 9067 4816 or e-mail, [email protected]  

[1]There are five recommendations in ‘Flights and Rights’ for airlines.  For a copy of the report visit