De Jong: Airline passengers get clearer rights

5 February 2014

De Jong: Airline passengers get clearer rights

Today the European Parliament voted on airline passengers’ rights. ‘In general airline passengers will now have more rights and we’ve got rid of a lot of the lack of clarity, so it will also be easier to realise these rights,’ explains SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘On a few points the SP would have liked to have gone further, but the EP gave way to pressure from the airlines.’

An obvious negative is the failure to end the practicewhereby passengers, when booking a series of flights, lose their rights if not all of these flights are then taken. ‘As things stand it’s sometimes cheaper, for example, to fly from Dusseldorf to New York changing at Amsterdam, than it is just to fly from Amsterdam,’ De Jong points out. ‘Airlines do this to promote Schiphol as a hub. Your ticket to New York becomes invalid, however, if you don’t want to use the Düsseldorf-Amsterdam ticket, or can’t. Despite our proposals, a narrow majority of MEPs weren’t willing to put an end to this to passengers incomprehensible rule.´

For the SP what’s most important is that passengers affected by delayed or cancelled flights can count on being properly taken care of. The European Parliament proposals would guarantee that you have a right to timely information about replacement transport, or if a replacement isn’t possible, that the airline is responsible for food, drinks and hotel accommodation up to a maximum of five nights.

In the European Parliament Internal Market Committee De Jong has long fought for greater clarity in relation to passengers’ rights. ‘Lack of clarity means that passengers who try to enforce their rights often find themselves stuck in interminable legal procedures,’ says De Jong. ‘This proposal would give a limited number of grounds on which the airlines could plead force majeure. This will make it clearer to passengers whether they have a right to financial compensation and payment of such would be speeded up. This is beneficial to all parties involved.’

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