Snow chaos: Airlines accused of short-changing passengers

Airlines operating in Britain have been warned about their ''unacceptable treatment of passengers'' during the snow chaos this month.

The Civil Aviation Authority has written to several airlines to say they did not meet with European Union-enforced obligations to customers during the disruptions caused by unusually heavy snow and ice.

Passengers stranded at airports due to bad weather have a right to refunds, meals, hotel accommodation and telephone calls if needed. The CAA has written to a number of carriers who, it says, failed to provide these amenities for passengers who were stranded after hundreds of flights were scrapped.

The authority has found that some airlines neglected to inform customers of their rights, with some even misleading passengers.

Both UK and overseas-based airlines are involved and the CAA said the matter was 'ongoing'.

Under EU law, airlines have to look after passengers once a flight is cancelled. The regulation has been bitterly opposed by airlines especially after they faced substantial bills when aviation came to a halt during the ash cloud crisis earlier this year.