EU passengers are unfamiliar with their rights, says European Court of Auditors

The system that guarantees the rights of passengers in the European Union is well developed but travelers must “struggle” to benefit from it, notes the European Court of Auditors in its new report. Auditors suggest several areas for improvement, including automatic compensation for delays in certain circumstances and clearer communication. According to the European Court of Auditors, passengers in the public transport modes (air, rail, water, bus and coach) are not aware of their rights established by the European Commission and do not have the necessary information to claiming them because of enforcement problems.

After two surveys of travelers in several European countries, the court notes multiple interpretations of the provisions contained in the regulations, an amount of compensation that does not take into account purchasing power and a relatively low level of awareness. Compensation procedures also lack transparency because passengers on the same trip may be treated differently, she adds.

The auditors of the European Court of Auditors therefore formulate measures for improvement. They recommend the obligation for carriers to explain the causes of a disruption within 48 hours, the automatic payment of compensation and more autonomy for national enforcement bodies.

The European Court of Auditors emphasizes that the EU’s commitment to passenger rights is “indisputable” but adds that the system needs to be “coherent, user-friendly and efficient”.

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