The European Parliament was discussing today certain issues concerning air travel. The Transport and Tourism Committee voted on a new resolution on air passengers' rights (Air travel: Transport Committee calls for a fair deal for all passengers). The resolution calls on the European Commission to clarify air passengers' rights, ensure uniform application of the appropriate provisions, as well as to improve the enforcement thereof with regard to airlines that breach these provisions.
The members of the EP are convinced that air carriers should provide a contact personnel at each airport, who would be able to take immediate decisions on assistance, reimbursement, rerouting and rebooking in the even of flight disruption. Moreover, each carrier should have a central information point, a website, as well as a low-cost phone number and email address that would be open to accept consumers' complaints.
The price of a flight ticket that is advertised online should include all charges (otherwise, it should be considered to constitute an unfair commercial practice). Passengers should have an option to withdraw from an online booking within 2 hours of booking. They should also have an option to correct minor booking errors.
National sanctions with respect to air carriers that breach EU rules should be made more effective. European Commission could also draw up and publish airline performance records, based on the annual number of complaints. Moreover, the passenger's complaint should not be processed for more than 2 months by an airline and 2 months by an enforcement agency.
The extraordinary circumstances under which the compensation does not need to be paid by the airlines should be clarified (including rulings of the ECJ on the subject).
In other news, the Civil Liberties Committee debated today on data protection of EU air passengers who travel to the US (MEPs divided over transfer of EU air passengers' data to the US). The passenger data agreement with the US will be voted on the 26th of March. At this point, the members of the EP are divided as to their assessment of it. There are doubts whether sufficient balance was reached between security issues and passengers' data protection. Another issue that was being discussed was the proposal for the EU Passenger Name Records, i.e., a proposal to collect and store passengers' data for international flights arriving in and departing from the EU.