EU passenger rights guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic

The European Union member states, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany are recording high number of deaths amid the coronavirus pandemic, as the Union is slowly dealing with the situation.

Recently, the EU published guidelines to ensure passenger rights are applied across the Union.

As the national governments have introduced different measures, including travel restrictions and border controls, the purpose of them is to reassure passengers that their rights are protected.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean says that in case of cancellations, the transport provider must reimburse or re-route the passengers. If passengers themselves decide to cancel their journeys, reimbursement of the ticket depends on its type, and companies may offer vouchers for subsequent use.

If passengers face the cancellation of their journey, for example, they can choose between reimbursement of the ticket price or re-routing to reach their final destination at a later stage. At the same time, the guidelines clarify that the current circumstances are “extraordinary”, with the consequence that certain rights – such as compensation in case of flight cancellation less than two weeks from departure date – may not be invoked.

The guidelines cover the rights of passengers when travelling by air, rail, ship or bus/coach, maritime and inland waterways, as well as the corresponding obligations for carriers.

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