Why passenger rights matter
The EU is the only area in the world where passengers are protected by a full set of rights - whether they travel by air, rail, ship or bus and coach.
Europe has experienced a boom in mobility over the last decades. EU legislation has therefore been introduced for all modes of transport to protect passengers’ rights and ensure they are not lost in a myriad of national rules.
Passenger rights are based on three cornerstones: non-discrimination; accurate, timely and accessible information; immediate and proportionate assistance. The following ten rights that stem from these principles form the core of EU passenger rights:
(1) Right to non-discrimination in access to transport
(2) Right to mobility: accessibility and assistance at no additional cost for disabled passengers and passengers with reduced mobility (PRM)
(3) Right to information before purchase and at the various stages of travel, notably in case of disruption
(4) Right to renounce travelling (reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket) when the trip is not carried out as planned
(5) Right to the fulfilment of the transport contract in case of disruption (rerouting and rebooking)
(6) Right to get assistance in case of long delay at departure or at connecting points
(7) Right to compensation under certain circumstances
(8) Right to carrier liability towards passengers and their baggage
(9) Right to a quick and accessible system of complaint handling
(10) Right to full application and effective enforcement of EU law
See also the European Commission’s Communication on a European vision for Passengers
Review of the passenger rights framework
Fair mobility also means protection for passengers and their rights as highlighted in the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.
The Commission therefore commits to review the passenger rights regulatory framework, including to ensure its resilience to extensive travel disruptions, and including options for multimodal tickets. It will also assess the options and propose, if appropriate, an adequate financial protection scheme to protect passengers against the risk of a liquidity crisis or an insolvency regarding the reimbursement of tickets and, if needed, their repatriation (see actions 63 and 64 of the action plan of the Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy).
You will find more information on the ongoing development of this initiative on Have your say, where you will also have the opportunity to share your views.
To protect passengers, the EU has adopted rules covering:
Passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility (PRM): rules on PRM can be found in the rules for all four modes (see above).
Information on your passenger rights and how to claim them
In case your transport service was cancelled or delayed or you were denied boarding, if your luggage was damaged or lost, or if you have special mobility needs, visit the ‘Your Europe’ passenger rights website where you can find detailed information and advice on your rights and how you can claim them.
Passengers who buy a ticket as a part of a package travel are also protected through the Package Travel Directive.
You can also download the “Your Passenger Rights” app to your smartphone for free to check your rights immediately and on the spot. (Google Android, Apple iOS)
Passenger rights in the context of Covid-19
The Commission published Interpretative Guidelines on EU passenger rights in the context of the developing situation with Covid-19 as well as a Recommendation on vouchers offered to passengers and travellers in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
You can find more information on travel during the coronavirus pandemic on the Coronavirus response website, which includes a dedicated FAQ on passengers’ and travellers’ rights.
See also the European Court of Auditors’ Special report no 15/2021 on air passenger rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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