Thursday, 29 March 2012

Towards no stress flying

Today the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the functioning and application of established rights of people travelling by air. The European Commission is called upon to strengthen the rules on help and compensation for flight cancellations and delays, including luggage delays over 6 hours (MEPs push for clear and enforceable air passenger rights). MEPs demand clarification of certain definitions, like 'extraordinary circumstances' and 'cancellation', so that the airlines may not escape their liability by using loopholes in these definitions. Moreover, there is a need for better information services and assistance at the airports in case alternative travel route needs to be found, so that immediate decisions may be made on assistance, rerouting and rebooking. The European Commission should also prepare a standard draft of a complaint form in all EU languages that would be given to passengers in case of any disruption of their flights, so that they would be confronted with the same procedure regardless of the airlines they had used. Again, it was repeated that if airlines go bankrupt, passengers should be repatriated free of charge. Other matters that are seen as requiring more harmonisation and stricter regulation are: rules on hand luggage, clear pricing, prohibition of non-optional-extra-fees when booking online, unilateral rescheduling of flights and price discrimination based on the country of residence of passengers. MEPs suggest also making it clear on an airline ticket what is the trip's environmental impact. Finally, passengers should have full access to information about PNR data and its use, as well as be able to withdraw or change their ticket reservation free of charge within two hours from making it.

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