Compensation on charter flights

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has called on the European Commission to correct inaccurate and misleading information contained in leaflets, posters and a video presentation on the rights of air passengers regarding compensation for cancelled or delayed flights.

This follows a complaint to the Ombudsman from two airline associations which criticised the information provided by the Commission on the rights of travellers to compensation and assistance in the event of denied boarding, cancellation of flights or long delays. During his enquiry, the Ombudsman identified certain inaccurate and misleading statements in EU leaflets and other material.

In February 2005, new EU rules entered into force in the area of compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation of flights or long delays, and the Commission published material designed to inform travellers about their rights.

One of the statements in the leaflets and posters reads: “If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled, the airline operating your flight must offer you financial compensation and assistance”.

The Ombudsman considers that this sentence wrongly suggests that compensation has to be paid in every case where a flight is cancelled.

The Ombudsman also agrees with the complainants that a statement in the video that “Immediate and automatic compensation will be paid for delays, cancellations and overbooking” is inaccurate as compensation never has to be paid in respect of delay, and where compensation is payable for cancellation and overbooking, it does not have to be paid immediately.

New EU legislation regarding passenger rights to compensation on charter flights