The European Union has recently begun to consider reevaluating legislation regarding air travel delay compensation. Amid rising pressures placed upon the airlines, and a vast increase in delays and cancellations, the strain to remove the compensation requirements has never been greater. Many advocates for increased compensation argue that the increase in delays and cancellations only places more hardships on passengers. They claim that airlines should compensate their passengers accordingly.
Another rising cost
As the world recovers from the pandemic, operating costs for air carriers have only gone up amid the many shortages. These shortages have led to many delayed and canceled flights. These delays and cancellations trigger a nearly two-decade-old legislation in the European Union. This legislation requires that all passengers who are delayed by over three hours are entitled to compensation. Passengers may be paid anywhere between 250 euros (roughly 250 dollars) and 600 euros. The only exception to this is classified as “extreme circumstances.” However, no set guidelines exist for what these circumstances are.
Delay Compensation requirements have cost EU airlines billions in recent months. Photo: Getty Images
In past months, record numbers of delays and cancellations have sent billions of euros back to the consumers who qualified for compensation. The Czech presidency of the European Union has begun to look into reopening a discussion on the legislation. Previous talks have been had concerning the matter, but a dispute between Spain and the UK brought the talks to a halt.
Airlines have been calling for reduced compensation requirements amid the massive budget squeezes of recent months. Airlines find it unfair that they are required to pay out hundreds when the passenger only paid a fraction of that. The Managing Director of Brussels-based Industry Lobby for Airlines of Europe stated,
“I think everyone would agree that if you pay € 50 for the ticket, then you get € 300 back, that’s not right,”
A second opinion
Many organizations are calling for increased levels of compensation. Passenger rights groups and organizations believe passengers are not sufficiently compensated for their troubles. These groups have repeated this message for years. However, amid the rising delays and cancelations, they are pushing the narrative harder than ever. Claiming that amid so many cancellations, passengers are receiving poorer treatment, and when their flight is canceled, it is just as likely that their next flight will also be canceled.
Advocates for passenger rights argue that passengers do not receive sufficient compensation for delayed flights. Photo: Getty Images
A legal officer at Brussels-based consumer group BEUC, Steven Berger, is a strong advocate for increased compensation. Berger stated,
“If you go from Lithuania to Portugal for € 30 and you’re trapped there for two days between the flight, is it fair to receive just [a few] euros’ compensation? We need to keep the level of compensation and reinforce the enforcement. “
Currently, no information has been provided concerning any official discussions regarding the matter of compensation. However, the fact that the Czech president of the European Union is considering it is positive news for all those seeking to reform the legislation. Multiple airlines have stated that they are not relying solely on the Czech presidency to take action on this matter. They anticipate that the next presidency, which will begin in 2023 in Sweden, will be likely to reopen the case.
Amid record numbers of flight cancelations and delays, the European Union is considering reevaluating compensation regulations. The airlines are advocating for a decrease in compensation requirements as billions of euros have been redistributed to passengers whose flights were delayed or canceled in the previous months. Many other organizations are calling for an increase in compensation for passengers stating that the rise in cancelations is only making air travel more difficult for passengers and that current compensation is not nearly adequate.
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