The EU has today proposed making substantial changes to the rights of passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled. The airlines have been howling about the old rules for some time, and Ryanair even imposes a surcharge on every ticket in order to pay for compensation.
- Financial compensation to be triggered after a minimum five-hour delay
(currently stands at three) on any flight within the EU or international flight
shorter than 3,500kms
- For longer international flights, compensation will be due after a delay of
nine hours up to 6,000km and after 12 hours for longer journeys
- Airlines will also be required to inform passengers about delays and provide
an explanation no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time
- If you are stuck on the tarmac for 5 hours you will have a right to demand to get off
- Carriers can no long charge for errors with names on tickets
- The ‘Exceptional Circumstance’ clause, which has enabled airlines to wriggle out of the payments in the past, is clarified to indicate that mechanical failure is not ‘Exceptional’, but that air traffic control disputes and natural disasters are ‘exceptional’. After the Ash Cloud airlines were forced to pay up – this is no longer the case.
- Airlines liability will be limited to three nights accommodation, except for people with disabilities, pregnant women and unaccompanied children
This only applies to EU based airlines.
But for the first time airlines will be required to re-book passengers on the services of their rivals if the delay is more than 12 hours.
Some of the changes are good, but we’ll be stuck in an airport lounge much longer now before the airline buys us a cup of tea.