Clune welcomes new guidelines that clarify passenger’s rights when travelling

19 July 2016
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

Deirdre Clune MEP is based in Cork
Deirdre Clune MEP is based in Cork

Fewer than 5% of people are claiming their entitlements as millions of Euro is going unclaimed every year!

In a recent global ranking of airlines, www.airhelp.com ranked Aer Lingus at 32nd and Ryanair at 39th

Fine Gael Ireland South MEP, and member of the EU Transport Committee, Deirdre Clune, has welcomed new guidelines that clarify the existing rules on air passenger rights. The guidelines, issued by the European Commission, are designed to make it easier and clearer for passengers to understand.

Speaking as many holiday makers get ready to take off on flights around Europe, the Ireland South MEP said it is important that passengers know their rights when travelling by plane.

“People don’t realise that they have an extensive set of rights when it comes to travelling, which are all set out carefully under EU law. The new guidelines, issued by the Commission, consolidate a number of European Court of Justice Rulings, which have affected the content and scope of Regulation 261/2004, on air passenger rights.

“Passengers who suffer long delays of three hours or more are entitled to the same financial compensation as if their flight was cancelled by the airline. The European Court of Justice also ruled that the delay that should be taken into account is the delay at arrival, including flight connections. The court ruled that it does not matter whether the delay occurred at the departure airport, at the connecting airport (s) or at any stage of the journey. Only the delay at the final destination of the journey is relevant for the right to compensation. Financial compensation, however, cannot be claimed if the long delay was caused by an extraordinary circumstance that could not have been avoided by the air carrier, even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

“The new guidelines also clarify that in situations of delays and cancellations due to extraordinary circumstances, the air carrier is still legally obliged to provide care to passengers, which is proportionate to the waiting time. This care should include refreshments, meals and, where appropriate, hotel accommodation and transport between airport and place of stay, as well as means of communication with third parties.

“Regarding the cancellation of flights, the guidelines clarify that a situation in which an aircraft takes off, but is subsequently forced to return to the airport of departure and then transfer passengers to other flights, also qualifies as cancellation and passengers are entitled to financial compensation.

“It is important that people know their rights when flying. European Commission research shows that fewer than 5% of people are currently claiming their rights. Millions of euro is going unclaimed every year due to a lack of information. An overly complex claims procedure means that most passengers don’t bother. I hope this clarification puts a lot of the confusion to rest and that passengers will claim what they are entitled to.

“There are many companies, such as airhelp.com, who will process your claim for you – and take a commission on the compensation. In a recent global ranking of airlines, on such factors as “on time performance, claim processing and quality and service”, airhelp.com ranked Aer Lingus at 32nd in their global rankings and Ryanair at 39th.”

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