EU authorities are planning to re-examine the Commission’s Flight Compensation Regulation “at the expense of consumers” and to the benefit of airline companies, according to the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) and the Association of Passenger Rights Advocates (APRA).
According to the rights groups, the EU is looking to amend regulation 261/2004 which foresees compensation of up to 600 euros to passengers who suffer delayed or cancelled flights, overbooking or denied boarding.
On the initiative of the Croatian EU Presidency, the European Union now intends to change the rules with an official announcement expected in June, the two associations said.
According to VZBV and APRA, passengers will no longer be compensated for delays of three hours. Instead, flyers will be entitled to claim compensation when delays exceed five hours for long-haul flights of over 3,500km.
For flights exceeding 6,000km in distance, eligibility for compensation will apply to nine-hour delays and over.
Consumer rights advocates expect the delay limit to increase to 12 hours, significantly reducing the number of cases seeking compensation. Indicatively, in 2018, some 16.5 million EU passengers suffered delays, according to a Commission study.
“According to our estimates, almost 80 percent of passengers could lose their rights,” said Agnès Andes, senior director of AirHelp, which recorded 30,000 delays or cancellations in the first six months of 2019 creating inconvenience to some 3.2 million passengers.