Airline passenger rights is the EU’s new target

The EU has been dealing out new rules again and this time they’ve targeted airline passenger rights.  Said to probably take effect in 2014, the new rules grant passengers who are victims of delayed flights fewer rights under the European Commission’s new proposals, and will make the claiming of compensation much harder.  Essentially, the new rules cap the airline’s duty of care and airlines that fly small plans on short routes will be exempt from any liability.

Currently, should departure be delayed by 3 hours or more, it is considered a cancellation and passengers are able to claim for cash compensation, which could, in fairness, run in hundreds of pounds; unless, of course, the airline can show that the cause of the delay was due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’.  Under the new proposals, this cut-off point is going to be increased and incremental steps will be introduced.  So, for flights less than 2,175 miles, the cut-off point will be 5 hours.  However, should the flight be up to 3,730 miles, then the cut-off point is a delay of 9 hours, and for trips over 3,730 miles, the cut-off point will be 12 hours.

But these new rules deliver a second blow; if the flight has less than 80 seats and is flying less than 155 miles, those passengers will lose any entitlement to claim should a flight be delayed.  Oh, and there’s more… liability is to be capped for first when it comes to very long delays.  Plus, for big planes on longer flights, the current rule on care for delayed passengers has also changed; it is to be simplified – all passengers will be entitled to meals and accommodation (capped at a maximum of 3 nights) should the delay rise to 2 hours.  But this rule is actually in favour of the passenger as currently, passengers travelling more than 930 miles have to wait until the delay reaches 3 or even 4 hours!

The European Commission claim that the changes proposed will “give air carriers a reasonable time to solve the problem and encourage them to operate the flight, not just cancel it.  The cost of the obligations under the Regulation can go out of proportion with the carrier’s revenue.”  The also added that the current rules could potentially threaten the ‘financial survival’ of airlines.

Whilst passengers will be losing out should these new rules be adopted next year, airlines are feeling a little relieved, although small  regional airlines operating flights to places such as Amsterdam or Paris that connect passengers to long-haul flights will still exposed to compensation claims of £500 per person should a short delay lead to them missing their connection.

What airlines have reacted strongly to are other proposals from the European Commission.  Ryanair feel particularly angry about a plan to force airlines to move passengers to other airlines should a delay of 12 hours or more occur.  A spokesman for Ryanair said: “It will unfairly and disproportionately increase costs for low-fare airlines, which do not participate in airline alliance programmes.”

At Heathrow Gatwick Transfers, we will make sure that you don’t need to claim any compensation because we will don’t believe in delays.   We believe that the service we offer our customers is of the highest quality, is highly competitive, affordable and meets your expectations.  Our fleet of well-maintained, spacious, chauffeur-driven cars are able to carry from one to eight passengers, plus luggage and check-in luggage!  We also offer a FREE Meet & Greet service so you can rest assured that your chauffeur will be there waiting to help you from the moment you arrive, to the moment you depart.  And if you’re flight or boat is running late?  No problem, our FREE waiting time service ensures that we will check your arrival and departures times so that we are there to meet you.

And we don’t charge any extras or charge you to book online with a card – all our prices are All Inclusive so, the price you see is the price you pay.  So, when you book your spring, summer or autumn holiday, or your business trip, don’t forget to book your airport/hotel transfer online today at Heathrow Gatwick Transfers and make sure your travel plans are all wrapped up.