As thousands of families prepare their travel arrangements for the mid-term break and Easter holidays, the EU has said that airlines must do more to compensate passengers hit by overbooking, delays and cancellations.
Today, the European Parliament voted in a raft of regulations to offer plane passengers greater projection.
‘We are an island nation and we rely more heavily than other countries on airports and air travel,’ independent MEP Nessa Childers said from Strasbourg, where voting is taking place.
‘For too long passengers in Europe have been out of pocket and hugely inconvenienced when airlines don’t get their planes off the ground – today’s voting builds on existing legislation and further protects our rights from the moment we book our tickets.’
Compensation ranging from €250 to €600 – dependent on the flight distance – is currently available, but only a small minority of people actually end up claiming. The EU wants to ensure that airlines are required by law to do more to offer a greater number of eligible passengers the money they are entitled to.
Officials also want to guarantee that those with a return flight can board their inbound flight – even if they didn’t take their initial outbound seat. And passengers should be able, the EU says, to disembark from the plane if it’s been sitting on the tarmac for more than two hours.
‘Every passenger has the right to high-quality services and today sees a major advancement in passenger freedom and consumer rights,’ Ms Childers added.
Passengers have previously said that although similar legislation has been in place since 2005, rights were not adequately explained to them, or that compensation was only reluctantly released by their airlines after prohibitively long-winded procedures were followed.