MEPs have voted to strengthen air passenger rights in Europe including clearer rules on compensation and carry-on luggage and the right to free food and accommodation in the case of severe delays.
For short-haul flights, passengers will be entitled to £250 (300 euro) compensation after three hours delay, and will be given the right to disembark after a maximum of three hours waiting on the runway.
The new rules were welcomed by Liberal Democrat MEP and European Transport Spokesman Phil Bennion, who also pushed for seats required for carers accompanying disabled people or for musical instruments to be exempt from tax.
Commenting, he said:
“The most important change is that the definition of ‘exceptional circumstances’ has been tightened, meaning airlines will only be able to avoid paying compensation under specifically defined situations outside of their control.”
“The confusion over hand baggage allowances that currently plagues our airports will also thankfully be brought to an end. Each passenger will be allowed one handbag, one coat, one bag of duty-free goods and one item of carry-on luggage.”
The European Commission today unveiled new proposals to strengthen air passenger rights. West Midlands Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion, who sits on the European Parliament Transport Committee, commented:
“This is a very welcome proposal which will close some of the glaring loopholes in the existing legislation. A significant change is the clarification of the “exceptional circumstances” under which airlines do not have to pay compensation, something I have long called for as a member of the Transport Committee. This means airlines will no longer be able to avoid paying out by pointing to issues like mechanical problems, and will prevent customers being dragged through long and expensive court cases. Airlines will also have to explain to passengers why they are being delayed no more than half an hour after the scheduled departure time, putting an end to uncertain and frustrating waits sitting on the runway or in the departure lounge.” Continue reading