Friday, 14 February 2014

Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights: European Parliament approves review draft

  The European Parliament approved on 5 Febr. 2014 the draft of a new Regulation on air passenger rights, which will amend the existing Regulation 261/2004. The Parliament’s draft is based on the revision proposal of the European Commission, but adopts consumer-friendlier positions.

  According to the Parliament’s press release, there are several points of agreement with the Commission’s proposal, yet there are also some major differences.

  Some of the Regulation’s main amendment regard prohibition of the no-show fee, limitation of the air carrier liability for providing accommodation and meals, change of liability limits for delay or cancellation of flights, special rules for connecting flights, passenger right to have their name changed on the ticket for free, prohibition of hand-luggage fees etc.  

  Regulation 261/2004 and its interpretation by the CJEU has been a source of frustration for air carriers, whereas consumer groups think it point to the right direction, but more measures are needed. As a result, the proposed amendments have been criticized by both sides. Especially the air carriers warn that there will be a significant rise of the ticket prices, if the proposed rules come into force.

  Next step is the opinion of the Council and the voting on the final text, which might take place before the elections for the European Parliament.

  For an overview of the provisions currently in force in case of delay, annulation of flights and denied boarding, see the website of the European Commission.

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