Commission Defends Passenger Rights, IATA Nods to Clarity
The European Commission is calling for a stricter enforcement of rules so that passenger rights are respected, laying out the details in its new guidelines published this week.
As the holiday season kicks off, the Commission says the new regulations aim to clarify the existing rules, facilitate air travel for passengers and assist carriers and their agents to improve the application of the regulation.
“Transport is first and foremost about people… The guidelines published today will bring further clarity and legal certainty to ensure that the rules are applied properly. All EU citizens travelling by plane should receive the level of protection they are entitled to,” said Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport.
The EU’s Air Passenger Rights legislation offers a high degree of protection against unforeseen circumstances to people traveling by plane to and from the EU, including the right to compensation after a three-hour delay at the final destination, in case of a long delay on arrival due to missed connecting flights, in case of extraordinary circumstances securing the right to assistance and care.
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — representing some 265 airlines — welcomed the publication of the guidelines.
“A transparent and level playing field is important for passengers and airlines. Today’s interpretative guidelines are an important step to ensure that EU 261 is applied with greater consistency across Europe. The industry’s issues with EU 261, however, remain unsolved. Revisions to the regulation proposed in March 2013 would help to provide a better balance between passenger rights and airline obligations,” said IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler.
The guidelines will apply pending the adoption and implementation of air passenger legislation proposed by the Commission in 2013.