Consumer protection in the air travel sector
Passengers are the heart and soul of transport. Since 2005, they enjoy a set of basic rights while travelling in the European Union by any mode of transport. The increase in air transport, stimulated by the development of the single market, has overall reduced the quality of service provided by airlines, causing much dissatisfaction amongst consumers. In spite of numerous measures already taken at EU level (i.e. compensation for denied boarding, liability in case of accidents, a code of conduct for computerized reservation systems and package travel rules 1), it appears that consumers have little knowledge of their rights.
The relevant EU rules for air passengers cover passengers departing from any airport situated in the EU or arriving to a European airport from outside the EU with an airline company registered in the EU or one registered in Iceland, in Norway or in Switzerland. Passengers are entitled to get accurate information about their rights (i.e. the right to safety and security, reimbursement, re-routing and compensation) as well as assistance in case of flight disruptions such as delays, cancellations, denied boarding 2 or lost and damaged luggage 3.