Despite the fact the Europe is the only area in the world implementing a comprehensive set of passenger rights, more than half of those who travel still don’t know what these rights are.
A closer look at a Eurobarometer survey conducted between 19 February and 4 March 2019 on 27,973 EU citizens found that 43 percent of EU nationals who traveled by air, long-distance rail, coach, ship or ferry in the past 12 months were aware that the EU had put in place rights for passengers.
Additionally, 32 percent of all respondents know passenger rights exist in the EU, for air, rail, coach or ship or ferry transport but only 14 percent specifically know their rights for air travel, 8 percent for rail, 5 percent for coach, and 3 percent for travel by ship or ferry.
Respondents who have travelled by at least one of these modes are more likely to be aware of passenger rights, although this remains below 50 percent.
Meanwhile, the percentage of travelers who said they were well informed about their rights by transport companies before travelling varies by mode of travel: 40 percent for air passengers, 29 percent for ship or ferry passengers, 26 percent for rail passengers, and 26 percent for coach passengers.
“The European Union is the only area in the world where citizens are protected by a full set of passenger rights. However, these rights need to be better known and easier to understand and enforced,” said EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean.
“Our rules should also provide more legal certainty to passengers and the industry. We now need Council and the European Parliament to swiftly reach agreement on them to ensure that people travelling in the EU are effectively protected,” Vălean added.
Though passenger rights are defined at EU level, they are applied by transport providers and enforced by national bodies allowing space for disparities between member states.
To address this, the European Commission has intensified efforts to clarify and raise awareness about passenger rights.
Meanwhile, in with regard to lodging complaints, survey respondents who have experienced disruption during air travel are more likely to have complained than those using other modes: 37 percent of air passengers against 26 percent of coach passengers, 24 percent of rail passengers, and 18 percent of ship or ferry passengers complained.
Among respondents who experienced a travel disruption but did not make an official complaint (72 percent), the most likely reason for not complaining was feeling that it was useless to do so (45 percent).