Airlines should give stranded passengers better information and immediate help, MEPs say in a resolution adopted by Parliament on Thursday. They call on the Commission to tighten the rules on help and compensation for flight cancellations or delays, including luggage delays over 6 hours.
"While EU legislation has already gone some way towards improving the rights of air passengers, more needs to be done to get them a fair deal and to ensure broader rights for all travellers", said rapporteur Keith Taylor (Greens/EFA, UK) before the vote. The definitions of "extraordinary circumstances" and "cancellation", in particular, need to be clarified, he added, to oblige airlines to take their responsibilities.
Improve information services and assistance
Air carriers should be obliged to ensure that stranded passengers can turn to 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, says the resolution.
MEPs call on the Commission to draw up a standard form for complaints in all EU languages, to be handed to passengers in the event of disruption. Passengers stranded when airlines go bankrupt should be repatriated free of charge, they add.
Advertised prices must be final prices
The resolution also urges the Commission to harmonise rules on hand luggage and to put 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. The trip's environmental impact should be indicated airline tickets.
Passengers should have the right to withdraw or change their ticket reservations free of charge within two hours and get full access to information about their "Passenger Name Record" (PNR) data and be informed of how their PNR data are used and with whom they are shared, says Parliament.
MEPs insist that passengers with reduced mobility or with disabilities must be granted barrier-free access to air travel, including the right to use mobility devices. Finally, safe child seats should be provided on each plane.
The resolution was passed with 509 votes in favour, 20 against, and 53 abstentions.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution