Airline passengers receive free upgrade….of their rights

March 15, 2013 5:33 PM

South West Euro-MP for the Liberal Democrats Sir Graham Watson has welcomed new European rules which have come into force for airline passengers.

Under new rules set out by the European Commission, clarification has been made to "exceptional circumstances" such as mechanical faults where until now, airlines did not have to pay out compensation to airline passengers. Previously, some airlines challenged rulings in court under this measure, resulting in passengers having to go through expensive legal challenges in order to receive a refund.

A number of rights already exist to passengers, who can claim for accommodation and refreshments if a flight is severely delayed or cancelled due to severe weather or a strike.

Sir Graham, who has assisted dozens of stranded constituents with disputed cases, commented,

"I welcome the new rules which will stop airlines from using mechanical faults as an excuse and instead oblige them to live up to their full responsibilities as carriers of passengers.

"Your rights to accommodation, food and a free transfer to a later flight when a commercial flight is delayed or cancelled are some of the great benefits you enjoy as a citizen of the European Union. But all too often, consumers are not aware of their rights and some airlines have, on occasion, chosen to exploit this.

"Whilst most airlines play by the rules, others choose to flout them. I urge any of my constituents who feels that their rights have been ridden roughshod over by an airline on a flight within the EU or whose final destination or departure is within the EU, to contact me.

"I now hope this week's clarification of the rules will help ensure that airlines are more transparent and more responsible. The European Parliament has worked to protect passengers and we will continue to ensure no one is left out of pocket when a flight is cancelled or severely delayed."