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Passenger rights in the EU – Frequently asked questions

European Commission - MEMO/13/608   25/06/2013

Other available languages: none

European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 25 June 2013

Passenger rights in the EU – Frequently asked questions

For the first time, millions of holiday-makers travelling in the EU this summer will be protected by comprehensive passenger rights – whether travelling by air or rail, and now also by ship, bus and coach.

What are your rights when travelling by plane?

These rights apply to passengers on all flights departing from an EU airport and on flights operated by EU air carriers when departing from a non-EU airport.

  1. Non-discrimination based on nationality regarding tariffs and other contract conditions;

  2. Adequate, transparent and accessible information for all passengers before and during their journey on the identity of airlines, as well as general information in airport terminals and on the internet about their rights;

  3. Transparent information about the cost of the tickets for all flights departing from EU airports;

  4. Compensation between €125 and €600 (depending on the distance) if the flight is cancelled and you are informed less than 14 days before departure, unless the airline can prove that the flight was cancelled for extraordinary circumstances;

  5. If you are denied boarding against your will, you are entitled to compensation between €125 and €600 depending on the duration of the flight. If you opt for re-routing you are entitled to adequate assistance;

  6. Compensation between €125 and €600 if you arrive at your destination more than 3 hours late unless the airline can prove that the flight was delayed for extraordinary circumstances. In case of delay you are entitled to adequate assistance depending on the duration of the delay and distance of the flight. If the delay is longer than 5 hours you can claim reimbursement of the full ticket price, or cost of the unused ticket segment, or rerouting;

  7. Adequate assistance (snacks, meals, refreshments, as well as, if necessary, accommodation) in case of cancellation, or delay, or re-routing;

  8. Compensation for death or injury caused by air accidents;

  9. Compensation for loss, delay or damage to luggage when the airline is considered liable for the occurrence.

The European Commission has recently proposed new measures to strengthen air passenger rights. Please see

Air Passenger Rights Revision - Frequently Asked Questions – summary

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/index_en.htm

What are your rights when travelling by rail?

These rights apply to all cross-border journeys within the European Union.

  1. Non-discrimination based on nationality regarding tariffs and other contract conditions;

  2. Adequate, transparent and accessible information for all passengers before and during their journey, as well as general information at railway stations and on the internet about their rights;

  3. Possibility to buy the tickets on the train when impossible on the counter (or machine), the internet, or by phone

  4. In case of a delay of more than one hour, you have the choice between reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket, or part of the journey not made, and continuation of the journey and re-routing at the earliest opportunity;

  5. Compensation of 25% of the ticket price for delays between 60 and 119 minutes. Compensation of 50% of the ticket price for delays of at least 120 minutes, or cancellation, unless the railway company demonstrate that the delay or cancellation was due to unavoidable circumstances;

  6. Adequate assistance (snacks, meals, refreshments, as well as, if necessary, accommodation and alternative transportation) in case of cancellation, or delay of more than 60 minutes at the final destination, or re-routing causing delay;

  7. Compensation for death or injury caused by rail accidents;

  8. Compensation of up to around €1,300 (if the damage suffered is proved) or a lump sum of around € 330 in case of loss, delay or damage to a registered luggage.

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/rail/index_en.htm

What are your rights when travelling by ship?

These rights apply to travelling in the EU on large ferries and cruise ships on sea, rivers, lakes or canals:

  1. Adequate and accessible information for all passengers before and during their journey, as well as general information about their rights in terminals and on board ships;

  2. Adequate assistance such as snacks, meals, refreshments and, where necessary, accommodation up to three nights, with a financial coverage up to €80 per night in case of cancellation or delay at departure of more than 90 minutes;

  3. Guaranteed choice between reimbursement or rerouting in case of cancellation or delay at departure of more than 90 minutes;

  4. Compensation, between 25% and 50% of the ticket price, in situations of delay at arrival.

    For passengers travelling by sea, the following rights apply in case of an accident:

  5. Financial compensation in case of death, personal injury, and loss of or damage to luggage, vehicles, and mobility or other special equipment;

  6. Advance payment (within 15 days) to cover immediate economic needs in case of death or personal injury;

  7. Direct recourse against the carrier's insurance provider in case of death or personal injury.

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/maritime/index_en.htm

What are your rights when travelling by bus or coach?

These rights apply to all regular bus services, where passengers travel along specified routes with predetermined stops and the service is provided in specified intervals:

  • Non-discrimination based on nationality with respect to tariffs and other contract conditions;

  • Full compensation for the loss or damage of disabled people's mobility equipment;

  • Minimum rules on travel information for all passengers about their journey and their rights;

In addition, bus and coach companies shall have in place an effective complaint-handling mechanism, and Member States shall have independent national enforcement bodies with the mandate to enforce the regulation and, where appropriate, to impose penalties on operators who breach it.

There are additional rights only applicable to long-distance regular services (more than 250 km). However, Member States may exempt domestic services from the application of these rights until 28 February 2017:

  • Adequate assistance (snacks, meals and refreshments as well as, if necessary, up to two nights' hotel accommodation, for a total amount of € 80 per night, except in case of severe weather conditions and major natural disasters) in situations of cancellation or following a delay of more than 90 minutes in the case of a journey of more than three hours;

  • Guarantee of reimbursement or rerouting in situations of overbooking or in case of cancellation or following a delay of more than 120 minutes from the estimated time of departure;

  • Compensation of 50 % of the ticket price following more than 120 minutes' delay from the estimated time of departure, cancellation of a journey and if the carrier fails to offer the passenger either rerouting or reimbursement;

  • Information when the service is cancelled or delayed in departure;

  • Compensation of passengers in case of death or injury, or in case of loss or damage of their luggage caused by road accidents;

  • Assistance of passengers in case of their injury or loss or damage of their luggage caused by road accidents (the assistance shall satisfy the immediate practical needs of the passengers concerned, it could include, for example the provision of food, clothes, first aid, and if necessary accommodation up to 2 nights).

  • Free of charge assistance for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at terminals and on board and, where necessary, transport free of charge for accompanying people.

When a group of passengers is organised for a bus trip either at the initiative of the bus company, a tour operator or the passengers themselves, they have a right to:

  1. non-discrimination based on nationality with respect to tariffs and other contract conditions;

  2. compensation of passengers in case of death or injury, or in case of loss or damage of their luggage caused by road accidents;

  3. assistance of passengers in case of their injury or loss or damage of their luggage caused by road accidents (the assistance shall satisfy the immediate practical needs of the passengers concerned, it could include, for example the provision of food, clothes, first aid, and if necessary accommodation up to 2 nights).

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/road/index_en.htm

Summary of rights for persons with disabilities or reduced mobility

  1. Right to non-discriminatory treatment upon reservation and during travel and specific, free-of-charge, assistance, both at transport terminals and on board notwithstanding the means of transport: an airplane, a train, a ship or a bus. Furthermore these passengers have the right to financial compensation for loss of or damage to their mobility equipment;

  2. Adequate and accessible information regarding the accessibility of services;

  3. Carriers may not refuse reservations unless this is necessary to comply with applicable safety rules or depending on the size of the vehicle.

Before travelling, we invite all persons in need of assistance to notify transport companies, infrastructure managers, ticket vendors or tour operators at least 48 hours before departure.

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/air/prm_en.htm

How to complain?

If you feel that your rights have not been respected, first contact the transport company, regardless of your means of transport. Under EU law, mechanisms to handle passenger complaints are to be put in place by carriers and terminal operators.

If you are not satisfied with their response then contact the National Enforcement Body for your specific mode of transport. You can find the lists here:

How to find out more about your passenger rights?

A campaign website has been launched covering all transport modes. The website is available in all of the EU's official languages.

Videos and posters on the campaign http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/news/campaign_en.htm

For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passengers/index_en.htm

Visit the Commission's Your passenger rights at hand website.

A mobile app is available. For each potential problem, the app explains the passenger’s rights and provides information on who to contact in order to complain. Download the smart phone app for passenger rights.

If you have an enquiry about your rights and where to complain, you can also write to EuropeDirect: http://ec.europa.eu/europedirect/index_en.htm Free phone number from anywhere in the EU: 00800 67 89 10 11.


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