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Covid-19: Commission Gives Guidelines for EU Passenger Rights

In efforts to mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has published guidelines to ensure EU passenger rights are applied in a coherent manner across the European Union.

National governments have introduced different measures, including travel restrictions and border controls. The purpose of these guidelines is to reassure passengers that their rights are protected.

Furthermore, the guidelines cover the rights of passengers when travelling by air, rail, ship or bus/coach, maritime and inland waterways, as well as the corresponding obligations for carriers.

“In light of the mass cancellations and delays passengers and transport operators face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission wants to provide legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights,” said Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean.

“In case of cancellations, the transport provider must reimburse or re-route the passengers. If passengers themselves decide to cancel their journeys, reimbursement of the ticket depends on its type, and companies may offer vouchers for subsequent use,” she added.

By introducing clarity, the guidelines are also expected to help reduce costs for the transport sector, which is heavily affected by the outbreak.

Furthermore, the guidelines also clarify that the current circumstances are “extraordinary”, with the consequence that certain rights – such as compensation in case of flight cancellation less than two weeks from departure date – may not be invoked.

The Commission also underlined that the guidelines do not cover Directive (EU) 2015/2302 on package travel and linked travel arrangements.

To read the Commission’s guidelines press here.

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