The EU adopted over the past decade several regulations to protect the rights of passengers travelling by plane, train, ship or bus. Today it wants to clarify and better enforce air passenger rights and ensure consistent application of different passenger rights regulations in the future.
In a resolution adopted on 29 March 2012, MEPs called for better information and assistance for stranded passengers as well as improved compensation rules for flight cancellations or delays, including luggage delays. The European Commission plans to propose changes to existing air passenger rights regulations in the near future.
In addition to air passenger rights, travellers also benefit from rights when travelling by rail since January 2009. They will also enjoy rights when travelling by ship from December 2012 and by bus from March 2013. The Commission adopted in December 2011 a communication setting out the rights for all transport modes to ensure consistent application of different regulations. MEPs are preparing a report to comment on its content.
MEPs are also considering proposals to help increase the capacity of Europe’s airports, reduce delays and improve the quality of services offered to passengers. A vote on these proposals is expected to take place in the autumn.
Easing travellers’ lives is not MEPs’ only concern. They also worked hard to balance travellers’ right to privacy with the need to fight terrorism and serious crime: on 19 April the European Parliament approved a deal between the EU and the US on the transfer of air passengers’ data to the US. The same day MEPs also debated the reliability of biometric passports, which were introduced to help prevent fraud.