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MEPs vote to end "one-bag rule" and boost air passenger rights

February 5, 2014 3:07 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

The European Parliament has today voted to crack down on airline excuses to avoid paying compensation to passengers facing delays or disruption.

Bill Newton Dunn in EU ParliamentMEPs at Strasbourg voted on a number of proposals to strengthen air passenger rights in Europe including clearer rules on compensation and carry-on luggage and the right to free food and accommodation in the case of severe delays.

For short-haul flights, passengers will be entitled to £250 (300 euro) compensation after three hours delay, and will be given the right to disembark after a maximum of three hours waiting on the runway.

The new rules were welcomed by Liberal Democrat MEP Bill Newton Dunn who said:

"Parliament has voted to close some of the stark loopholes in the existing law which airlines have exploited for too long. We are determined to use our democratic muscle to fight for air passengers."

"The most important change is that the definition of 'exceptional circumstances' has been tightened, meaning airlines should no longer be able to duck out of their responsibility to compensate passengers when flights are cancelled because of mechanical problems. They will only be able to avoid paying compensation under specifically defined situations outside of their control."

"The confusion over hand baggage allowances that currently plagues our airports will also thankfully be brought to an end. Each passenger will be allowed one handbag, one coat, one bag of duty-free goods and one item of carry-on luggage."

"The EU has already achieved a lot in improving air passengers' rights, but these changes are desperately needed. Air travel is an international business; the only way we can stand up for passenger rights is through the EU and the European Parliament."

"There is still some way to go, MEPs need to reach agreement with the EU's other legislative chamber (The Council of Ministers) before this will become law, but this is a great first step."

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