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23-10-2012

Passenger rights: MEPs want loopholes closed

Passengers on all types of transport must have swift information, help in the event of service disruptions and non-discriminatory access for persons with reduced mobility, to protect their rights, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on Tuesday. MEPs also urge the European Commission to improve complaint procedures and do something about unfair pricing conditions.

Rapporteur Georges Bach (EPP, LU),  stressed the need to improve the assistance to be provided to passengers in distress,  though info-points in each terminal served, as well accessible and effective assistance by telephone. Airport staff should be able to take immediate decisions with regard to rerouting or rebooking and to assist in regard to lost luggage and to claims for compensation and reimbursement", says the text, which was approved by a show of hands.

"Furthermore, we need uniform, multilingual complaint-sheets in all EU languages (...), a deadline for handling complaints and a central, electronic EU 'clearing-house' for complaints", Mr Bach said during the debates. He pointed out that passenger rights should apply and be enforced equally in all member states, for the sake of passengers and to ensure fair competition among transport companies.

MEPs urged the Commission finally to define clearly the "extraordinary circumstances" causing interruption of services for which airlines cannot be held responsible, in its proposal, to be tabled in November, to revise air passengers' rights. It should also provide for better protection of passengers in the event of an airline's bankruptcy, they add.

Tickets booked on line: price transparency and multimodal travel deals

The Commission must step up its monitoring of websites that mislead consumers when they are booking tickets, and introduce a system of penalties to ensure full compliance with current legislation on price transparency. Adding non-optional costs for credit card transactions only at the end of the booking process should be prohibited, say MEPs, who call for European standards to be laid down for hand luggage.

Finally, the Commission should promote travel combining several modes of transport  using integrated tickets and develop an online European multimodal transport planner to enable passengers to compare prices and door-to-door journey times, including various modes of transport. Return tickets should be valid even if the passenger has not used the outgoing part.

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