Traveling by plane, rights and procedures in case of problems

Those traveling in Europe benefit from a series of protections they often ignore. And therefore, they do not claim them. The European Union has established and, in some cases, updated the rights of passengers, but according to a survey by the European Court of Auditors, little has been done. The Court of Auditors conducted a series of interviews in 10 Member States, including France and Italy.

Problems of non-respect of the rights of travelers

What’s the problem. Among the problems that have emerged, there is that of information: many citizens have had nothing after a canceled flight or a train late simply because they did not know they were entitled to something. The Court of Auditors’ inquiry mainly refers to airlines, but it is also useful for those who make use of private jet rental.

Some concepts, such as passenger assistance, have not been clarified by regulation and are therefore too interpretable. In other cases, the Court denounces, there are too many derogations that loosen the jerseys and sometimes also interfere with the national authorities, which limits the enjoyment of the rights of the community. Corollary of all this, there is an institutional problem: the European Commission does not have the power to impose the respect of the rights of the passengers: the compensation amounts in Europe to 250, 400 or 600 euros, according to the length of the journey.


The Court made a series of recommendations to improve the situation:

  • Increase the coherence, clarity and effectiveness of the regulatory framework;
  • To make citizens more aware of their rights
  • Give more powers to national authorities

The advice of the European Court of Auditors for passengers

  1. Provide as much detail as possible. When booking a ticket, it is always best to provide more contacts to the company. Doing this makes it easier to be contacted and to be informed of delays or cancellations;
  2. A photo of the luggage. Before embarking the bags, it is always better to photograph the contents: in case of loss, it will be easier to complain and prove the value of the objects contained;
  3. Punctuality. We demand it from businesses, but we must also respect it. Who is late in the registration, in fact, can not assert his rights in case of lost flight;
  4. Information: we are entitled to it. In case of delay or any other disturbance, we have the right to know what is happening and why. If the carrier does not provide us with information or if there is no staff member at the airport or at the train station, we must take note of it because we will have to write it in the complaint;
  5. In case of long delay or cancellation (for any means of transport), we are entitled to assistance. For example: water and a snack or a full meal. If this is not the case, we have the right to request it and in case of refusal, it must also be written in the complaint;
  6. In the event that no assistance is provided at the station or airport, we will have to fend for ourselves. In this case, it will be necessary to keep all receipts to be submitted at the time of the claim;
  7. In the event of a significant delay or cancellation, the passenger must prove that he has been involved. And the only way is that your name is printed on the ticket. If this is not the case, ask company staff to provide you with written proof;
  8. Many passengers immediately buy a new ticket as soon as they discover that their flight has been canceled. An understandable hurry, but not recommended: it is always good to listen first to the alternatives proposed by your company. The purchase of a new ticket is equivalent to the cancellation of your travel contract with the carrier. And therefore also the right to compensation;
  9. Anyone who has suffered a bad service and can testify to it must file a complaint with the company as soon as possible. If this does not answer or answers, but without accepting the request, you can contact the national authorities;
  10. In some cases, the losses resulting from delay or cancellation are much higher than the compensation provided for in the European regulations. In such cases, the European Court of Auditors recommends that the complaint make use of international conventions rather than Community standards. However, it will be necessary to demonstrate and document the exact amount of economic damage and additional costs we incurred due to the fault.