The European Commission (EC) has given member States six months to implement strict rules to make passenger rights regulation work, or it says it will take ”infringement procedures” or even amend the legislation.
”Although there is no doubt that passengers enjoy better protection today, we must make sure that airlines and member States fully comply with their obligations,” said transport commissioner, Jacques Barrot. ”The Commission will give them six months to make the air passengers regulation work and will provide them with full support in that process.”
The issue is a hot potato that has been bandied around for some years, but it seems that the EC has finally had enough and decided to act within what, it has to be said, are lightening quick parameters by the body”s normally sedate standards.
Stranded passengers do have rights, but are rarely aware of them, a situation that the EC is keen to redress through enforcement, clarifying the Air Passenger Rights Regulation and establishing clear differences between delay and cancellation ” both are subject to different interpretation.
The Regulation introduced new rules on compensation and assistance for air passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellations, long delays and involuntary downgrading. Depending on circumstances, it also requires airlines to provide passengers with assistance such as accommodation, refreshments, meals and communication facilities, offer re-routing and refunds as well as pay compensation.
A new poster has also been prepared by the EC with updated information to inform passengers of their rights that will be available before the summer.