MEPs call for improved air passenger rights

29 Mar 2012 by BusinessTraveller

The European parliament has called on the EU Commission to tighten rules on help and compensation for flight delays and cancellations.

In a resolution adopted today (March 29), MEPs said airlines should give stranded passengers “better information and immediate help”, including clarifying what is meant by the terms “extraordinary circumstances” and “cancellation”, in order to “oblige airlines to take their responsibilities”.

The resolution states that carriers should provide “competent contact personnel in each airport and over the telephone who can give them useful information on alternative travel options and take immediate decisions on assistance, rerouting and rebooking”.

It states that a standard complaints form, available in all EU languages, should be handed to passengers in the event of disruption, and adds that passengers should be repatriated free of charge when airlines go bankrupt.

The resolution urges the Commission to harmonise the rules on hand luggage, and calls for “an end to unfair commercial practices such as unclear pricing and non-optional-extra fees when booking online, unilateral rescheduling of flights and price discrimination against passengers based on their country of residence”.

It also says that passengers should have the right to withdraw or change ticket reservations free of charge within two hours of making the booking.

The EU Commission announced it was to review regulation 261/2004 covering air passenger rights in April last year, following major disruption caused by snow and ash clouds in 2010.

This latest resolution follows a public consultation on the possible revision of the regulation. The consultation ended earlier this month, and will be followed by a public hearing where a summary of the contributions will be presented, as well as an overview of the first findings of the independent study.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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