Strasbourg, 15 December 2009
Transport: making this winter's holiday travel plans safe and trouble-free
The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on the future of air passenger Rights and released a top 12 list of recommendations to guarantee travellers a safe and problem-free journey this Christmas. Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner in charge of transport, has also announced details of a European-wide publicity campaign to make citizens aware of what their passenger rights are.
"As millions of Europeans prepare to travel during the festive season, they can rest assured that the EU is doing all it can to take the sting out of travelling. The introduction of passenger rights for transport modes such as aviation and rail is another example of how the Union makes a difference to the everyday life of our citizens. This is why I am proud to be announcing that we will be launching an EU-wide publicity campaign to make clear to people what rights they enjoy as passengers under European legislation, while at the same time opening a public consultation to give everybody the opportunity to express their views on both what has been achieved and what can still be done on air passenger rights when something goes wrong regarding their flight" said Vice-President Tajani.
Five years on it is time to take stock of what has been achieved in air passenger rights and what can still be improved . A wide public consultation is being launched today the results of which will allow the European Commission's Directorate General for Energy and Transport to have a more comprehensive picture of what interested parties perceive to be the future of air passenger rights. This public consultation will remain open for two months through the Commission website (l ) and it will be closed by a public conference to be held in Brussels in Spring 2010.
Air and rail passengers already enjoy rights guaranteed by European legislation, while other transport modes are set to follow. The Commission has already presented proposals to protect the rights of people travelling by water or by bus or coach, which could be adopted as early as next year.
As not all people are yet fully aware of all the rights they enjoy as passenger under European legislation, a publicity campaign will run in 2010 and 2011. Apart from a special website in all of the EU's official languages, there will also be video clips, posters and publications to be used in major transport hubs such as airports and train stations, while there will also be a dedicated stand at international travel fairs. A budget of €1 million is earmarked for this campaign.
Top 12 list of recommendations for travellers this Christmas
1. If you travel by air and you are denied boarding, or if your flight is cancelled without notice or is subject to a more than five hour delay, ask for reimbursement or rerouting.
2. You also have the right to assistance and, in some cases, to a monetary compensation in case of cancellation or a delay exceeding 3 hours. In all cases the company has to inform you about your rights on the spot, when an incident occurs.
3. If your luggage gets lost or damaged, you have the right to a reimbursement of up to €1223 when you take the plane.
4. When you book your flight ticket online, remember that the final price must be clearly indicated on the first page.
5. When you check in at the airport, only take small quantities of liquids in your hand luggage (a maximum of 100 millilitres is permitted per container, which includes creams, powder and mousse). The total amount of liquids per person cannot exceed one litre.
6. If you are planning to travel by aeroplane outside Europe, check the black list of airlines banned in the European Union before buying your ticket.
7. If you are a passenger with disabilities or reduced mobility, you will be granted non discriminatory access conditions if you decide to travel by air or by cross-border train within the European Union. You have the right to free assistance before, during and after the flight, when travelling by air; to free assistance at the station and on board, when travelling by train. Inform your air carrier at least 48 hours in advance if you require such assistance.
8. When you travel by cross-border train within the European Union you are entitled to reimbursement (or rerouting) and compensation, plus assistance, in case of cancellation or delay at departure or at arrival of more than 1 hour. You will also enjoy adequate information before and during the journey.
9. If your luggage gets damaged during cross-border rail travel within the European Union, you are entitled to compensation of up to €1300. In case of accidents during the journey, you are entitled to advance payments and compensation for you or for your family.
10. If you are not satisfied with your cross-border rail journey within the European Union, keep in mind that each railway company has to communicate you the contact detail of the complaint handling body, which will answer to your complaint within one month.
11. When you buy a travel package, always make sure that both the price and all relevant information are clearly indicated.
12. Keep in mind that one out of four road accidents can be attributed to excessive alcohol or drug consumption. Don’t drive if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs!