Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune, a member of the Transport Committee of the European Parliament has called on European Airlines to pay up when it comes to passengers who are delayed, overbooked or had their flights cancelled. Speaking in the run up to the busy Christmas holiday travel period, Deirdre Clune has submitted a Parliamentary Question to the Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc,
"For a delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight passengers can receive up to 600 euro in compensation under EU passenger rights legislation EC 261/2004. It is estimated that under 5% of air passengers who have experienced delays, cancelled or overbooked flights are pursuing what they are entitled to. There is millions of euro of unclaimed compensation annually due a lack of awareness on behalf of the passenger and an overly complex claims procedure.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune pointed out that passengers are entitled to phone calls, refreshments, meals, accommodation and transportation to the place of accommodation from your airline if the delay is:
two hours or more for flights of 1,500 km or less;
three hours or more for longer flights within the European Union or for other flights of between 1,500 and 3,500 km;
four hours or more for flights of over 3,500 km outside the European Union.
If the delay is more than five hours, and you decide not to continue your journey, you are also entitled to have your ticket reimbursed and be flown back to where you originally started your journey.
"What good is legislation that aims to protect the consumer when it is ineffective in practice? I intend on raising this issue in the transport committee and with the Transport Commissioner. We must ensure that airlines spell out what people are entitled to when delayed or inconvenienced in a variety of ways. As we approach Christmas, our airports will be operating at capacity. Delays and overbooking are common occurrences.
"It is not good enough for airlines to say that their fares will increase if they have to pay out all of the compensation that is due. A business model should not be based on not paying people their entitlements. Proper implementation of passenger rights will ensure that airlines strive to avoid delays, overbooking and cancellation of passenger's flights.