Will we get more air passenger rights?

By | Category: Travel news

arriving planeYesterday, the European Parliament voted today on proposals from the European Commission to strengthen passenger rights. Will these happen given there is an election in May and that the new parliament will probably re-visit them in June?

If they do this is what is proposed by parliament.

  1. A strengthening of overseeing air carriers by national and European authorities (with tougher requirements on national authorities to monitor closely the performance of airlines and more effective sanctions.
  2. A right to care for passengers after a delay of 2 hours, for all flights irrespective of distance.   (The Commission says 3)
  3. A passenger has a right to a response to their complaint within 2 months and an acknowledgement of a complaint within a week. The Parliament proposes in addition that the Commission define a common complaint form.
  4. Passengers to have a right to information about their situation, 30 minutes after a scheduled departure. In addition, the Parliament proposes to have contact points in the airports to inform passengers on the circumstances of their travel disruption and on what are the rights they are entitled to.
  5. Passengers have a right to be re-routed by another air carrier or transport mode in case of cancellation when the carrier cannot re-route on its own services. The Commission proposes that this right applies after 12 hours, the Parliament suggests a much lower limit of 8 hours.
  6. A right for a passenger to correct a spelling mistake in a name “free of charge.”
  7. Assistance and compensation apply if you miss your connecting flight because the previous flight was late – however, the Parliament specifies that the compensation applies only where there is a delay of at least 90 minutes for the first flight.

It also said that there beeds to be a definition of “extraordinary circumstances” – e.g. strikes, storms, operational problems – which are outside the airline’s control, so the carrier is not required to pay compensation. Parliament proposes that technical faults can almost never be exempt as is suggested by the Commission.

The EU Commission wants to limit liability to 3 nights, to give passengers the certainty of the care they need, in circumstances such as snow, storms, strikes (based practical experience over almost a decade shows that 3 nights covers passengers’ needs). This would also give airlines some predictability when they budget for passenger rights. The Parliament proposes to raise the limit to 5 nights.

Finally, the Parliament proposes to impose on airlines an obligation to take insurance in case of bankruptcy (insolvency). The aim is to ensure that passengers would be reimbursed the cost of their tickets and stranded passengers would be repatriated.

More on this in June after the elections.

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