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We may soon lose our rights to proper flight compensation – here's what you need to know

Budget airlines passengers could soon lose out on a huge amount of compensation if their flights are delayed.

The Government is in the process of changing the way that passengers are paid if they're delayed while jetting off.

Under the proposals passengers can claim compensation based on the length of the flight delay and linked to cost of travel rather than having to meet a certain threshold – which is currently a three hour delay.

The new regime would mean passengers would have the right to a partial refund of their fare after a one-hour delay, instead of the current three-hour minimum.

The compensation system is currently under consultation (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

This would rise to 50 per cent after two hours and hit a full refund after waiting three hours.

Many people who are delayed for a relatively short period of time would benefit from the new rules, the Guardian reports.

However, those who are delayed by more than three hours are highly likely to receive a smaller pay-put than they currently do.

Under EU rules which the UK adopted when it left the bloc, passengers are entitled to at least a £220 pay-out after three hours’ delay - regardless of the amount they paid for their ticket.

The new rules tie the pay out amount to the amount people pay for their ticket, meaning people using budget airlines for short-haul flights may walk away with a very small amount of cash, despite a lengthy delay.

Budget airlines have long argued that the current rules are unfair and lead them to lose much larger amounts of money than they earn for a flight.

However, they often avoid paying compensation altogether when delays are deemed beyond their control, for example due to extreme weather, security alerts or air traffic strikes.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said about the plans: "People deserve a service that puts passengers first when things go wrong, so today I’ve launched proposals that aim to bolster airline consumer protections and rights.

Budget airlines passengers could soon receive smaller payouts (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

"We’re making the most of our Brexit dividend with our new freedoms outside of the EU and this review will help build a trustworthy, reputable sector."

The consultation into the plans are now closed, the Department of Transport told the Mirror in response to an update request this week.

"We’re considering responses, and will set out next steps shortly," the Government organisation said.

The department highlighted its new Aviation Passenger Charter which was published on July 17 and "provides passengers with information on their rights and responsibilities, for each stage of their journey, from booking to if things go wrong."

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