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Passenger rights

Legislation

Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (the Montreal Convention)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council pursuant to Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 on the operation and the results of this Regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights

Commission staff working document accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council pursuant to Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 on the operation and the results of this Regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights

Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91

Rectifications

Council Decision 2001/539/EC of 5 April 2001 on the conclusion by the European Community of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (the Montreal Convention)

REGULATION (EC) No 889/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 May 2002 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents

Council Directive 90/314/EEC on package travel, package holidays and package tours

Airports and Airlines Voluntary commitments: the Commission has encouraged airlines and airports to prepare voluntary commitments to improve their quality of service. These were presented to the public in May 2001 and since then most airports and airlines have signed up, as recommended by their representative associations. In February 2002 they began progressively to implement them:

  • Airport Voluntary Commitment on Air Passenger Service
  • Airline Passenger Service Commitment on Air Passenger Service

Other legislation

  • Regulation (EC) no 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air
  • Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 on the establishment of a Community list of air carriers subject to an operating ban within the Community and on informing air transport passengers of the identity of the operating air carrier, and repealing Article 9 of Directive 2004/36/EC
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 1546/2006 of 4 October 2006 amending Regulation (EC) No 622/2003 laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security

Reference documents

  • Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the rights of persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air
  • Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Strengthening passenger rights within the European Union
  • In 1991 already the Community adopted legislation on denied boarding caused by overbooking, a practice greatly resented by passengers. This gave them the right to financial compensation and to assistance. In 2001 the Commission made a proposal greatly to strengthen and extend the regulation. One aim was radically to cut the frequency of denied boarding by obliging carriers to seek volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for benefits, instead of refusing them access to a flight. Another was to extend the regulation to cover cancellations and, in part, long delays and non-scheduled as well as scheduled flights.
    • Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights)
    • Council Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 of 4 February 1991 establishing common rules for a denied-boarding compensation system in scheduled air transport
    • Communication from the Commission pdf - 370 KB [370 KB] to the European Parliament and the Council Protection of air passengers in the European Union: Air passenger rights in the European Union
  • A further initiative was to guarantee the rights of passengers killed or injured in an accident, as international law dating back to 1929 was quite inadequate. In 1997 the Community adopted legislation on the liability of air carriers in the event of accidents, which introduced modern rules to protect passengers flying on Community airlines. Since then, a new international agreement has been negotiated, the Montreal Convention. This is largely modelled on the Community regulation but also covers delays and mishandling of baggage. The Community has just amended its legislation to align it on Montreal rules.
  • Finally, contracts play a central role in defining relations between airlines and their passengers, laying down the rights and obligations of both sides. However passengers are not in a position to negotiate their terms, and indeed often do not know them, while airlines are strongly placed because they set their own conditions. The Commission believes that European legislation is needed to correct the balance. However, as the subject is complex and opinions differ widely on what should be done, the proposal should be developed in close consultation with stakeholders. In June 2002 the Commission published a consultation paper to which it requested responses by 30th. September.