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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

We take this topic quite seriously which is why you can see the subject of passenger rights popping up on the blog every once in a while. When something changes, travellers need to know about it! A new package of EU consumer measures have been revealed, so listen up!

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In a new package of EU consumer measures today, airlines who cancel flights will no be required to book passengers on rival airline carriers if they cannot offer a new flight to its passengers within 12 hours. But that’s not all! The latest wave of changes is the biggest reform to passenger rights since they were created eight year ago. The newest changes still need to be approved by the member states and the European Parliament but we can expect them to be in place by 2015.

No more obligation-dodging by airlines. Passengers have had to take their individual cases to court in order to get compensation for delayed and cancelled flights. It’s not just the passengers however that have been demanding more regulations that ensure they are compensated for what they deserve but airlines have also been asking for more rigid rules, to get rid of the “grey,” in order to avoid paying out more than they have to.

In April 2010 a volcano in Iceland erupted and grounded European airspace for five days. Airlines faced paying out damages of more than £1 billion to passengers. It was the airlines who picked up the bills when passengers were stranded around the continent for almost a week.

[see]Your rights as an airline passenger[/see]

What will change?

Airlines will now be required to pay a maximum of three nights hotel accommodation.

Airlines will also be banned from charging passengers a fee to change misspelled names.

Passengers are entitled a reasonable explanation for their cancelled flight within 30 minutes of the scheduled departure.

Airline will be required to acknowledge complaints within a week and respond within two month’s time.

When an aircraft is stuck on the tarmac or runway for longer than an hour, airlines are required to provide water (free of charge), turn on the air-conditioning or heating and make the lavatories available to any passenger who needs them.

Previously, the bill of passenger rights referred to “exceptional circumstances” which is obviously a very grey term which can mean a lot of different things. The new changes will better define what exactly is exceptional, and what is not.

Airlines will not be able to use “mechanical difficulties” as a reason against issuing compensation to passengers.

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If severe weather is the reason behind delays and cancellations, airlines won’t be required to pay compensation but they will be required to provide their passengers with care, like hotel accommodations, food vouchers, etc.

Airline will not have to pay compensation on flights delayed up to 5 hours. This is two hours longer than present which will give airlines more time to coordinate a new aircraft which means fewer flights will need to be cancelled.

Do you agree with  the new additions? What else would you like to see included?

Imgs: nicola since 1972, swanksalot / Flickr cc.

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