Passengers must get refunds

Hotel News - 26/05/2011

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The UK air-travel regulator is advising travellers they have the right to refunds or re-routing if their flights have been cancelled because of the latest plume of ash from an Icelandic volcano. The warning says that airlines are obligated to take necessary steps to minimise passengers’ inconvenience, including finding them alternative flight arrangements to get them to their destinations as quickly as is reasonably possible.

The notice was served by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, which was referring to European legislation that details the rights of passengers travelling by air. Under the European law, passengers can travel by rail or road.

Passengers seeking to pursue alternative travel arrangements, however, must follow the correct procedures. Failure to follow the right steps could leave travellers with greater inconvenience and possible costs.

Where a flight has been delayed by more than five hours, airlines must offer travellers refunds. The rules, however, don’t currently specify the payment of compensation on top of the refund.

Normally, if a traveller accepts a refund from the airline, the airline will have no further obligation towards the passenger. Passengers who depend on the airline’s assistance are supposed to be provided ‘care and assistance’ by the carrier.

The exact level of care and assistance is not exactly detailed in the European regulations expect but should include meals and refreshments while passengers wait for their flight. If necessary, the airline should provide suitable accommodation in hotel, as well as any required transfers between the accommodation and the airport.

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