European Parliament votes on air passenger rights

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 06, 2014 03:50 hrs

Brussels, Feb 6 (IANS) The European Parliament Wednesday voted on proposals from the European Commission (EC) to strengthen passenger rights.

The new measures are to ensure that air passengers have new and better rights to information, care and re-routing when they are stranded at the airport, Xinhua quoted the European Union (EU) as saying in a press release.

At the same time there will be better complaint procedures and enforcement measures so passengers can actually obtain the rights to which they are entitled.

"I hate being stranded at an airport. And I am sure most other people hate it too. It is bad enough if you are travelling on business, but if it's the holiday time and you have a young family with you it quickly turns into a nightmare," said EC Vice President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport.

According to the press release, the European Parliament supports the commission's proposal to strengthen oversight of air carriers by national and European authorities, as well as more effective sanctions.

It also backs the commission's proposal to introduce a right to care for passengers after a delay of two hours for all flights irrespective of distance. Until now, the time varied depending on the flight distance.

"That's why it's so important that passenger rights do not just exist on paper," he added. "We all need to be able to rely on them when it matters most - when things go wrong."

"We know that the real priority for stranded passengers is just to get home. So our focus is on information, care and effective re-routing. The aim is to get passengers where they want to be as quickly as possible while giving the airlines the time they need to sort problems out," he said.

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