18 MARCH 2013
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New proposed air passenger compensation rules proposed by the European Commission are causing uproar within the airline industry. Whilst some of them do make sense (a passenger may not be denied boarding on the return leg of a ticket because they did not take the outbound flight – a practice operated by some airlines) others will add to costs.
IATA criticised a provision whereby an airline would have to reroute passengers with a competitor if a flight was cancelled and there were no seats available on its own services within 12 hours. "If your Bic pen doesn't work, you don't expect to get a Mont Blanc as compensation", said Tony Tyler, Director General.
The issues were highlighted by the eruption of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull in 2010, which stranded millions of people and cost airlines US$1.7bn.
The Commission proposed that passengers be allowed to claim compensation only once flights are delayed by five hours for all EU and short international flights of less than 3,500km. The new rules would also clarify legal grey areas in existing regulations and introduce new rights where necessary, as well as improving complaints procedures and enforcement measures, the Commission said. http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel
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