Air passenger rights concern almost every EU citizen but only 2% of passengers actually get compensation after filing a complaint against an airline. From a customer protection standpoint this practice therefore needed some streamlining.
In order to strengthen consumer protection and hence consumer trust, the goal of this legislation is to provide the customer with comprehensible and uniform rules for air travel in the European Union.
New rules aim to require air carriers to have contact persons at the airport to inform passengers about their rights and complaint procedures, assistance, reimbursement, and re-routing of flights. Passengers will be able to lodge complaints with them, including those about lost or damaged baggage.
When flights are delayed, information on rescheduled flights will have to be made available to passengers no later than 30 minutes after the initial departure time. There are also clear compensation amounts for long delays or cancelled flights (EUR 300 for journeys of up to 2.500 km, EUR 400 for journeys between 2.500 km and 6.000 km, EUR 600 for all journeys of 6.000 km or more).
Concerning luggage, passengers will have to be informed early in the booking process about baggage allowances. Hand-luggage allowances will be increased to include a coat, a handbag, and one bag of airport shopping.
With regards to complaints, air carriers have to reply to complaints within two months or accept the passenger’s claims. In the event of an “extraordinary circumstance”, such as a bird strike, political unrest and an unforeseen labour dispute, carriers do not have to pay but give the passenger a full written explanation. In case of long-lasting, extraordinary circumstances, such as the 2010 ash cloud crisis, air carriers’ liability to pay for passenger accommodation will be limited to 5 nights.
Lastly, to ensure that passengers are not stranded when an air carrier goes bankrupt, carriers will have to provide guarantee funds or take out insurance policies. National authorities will be given sufficient powers to punish air carriers that infringe passenger rights and enforce the new rules correctly.
The European Parliament adopted the draft law and the Council of Ministers will now have to accept the Parliament’s position or adopt its own position. However, the proposal is blocked in the Council because Member States are afraid the draft rules put too many obligations on airlines. The Commission is preparing another attempt to push the rules through. No progress so far.
Ensure safe and secure air travel
Use of Flight Passenger Data
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