Passenger rights. Significant results from the Commission’s survey

On 17 January 2020, the European Commission released the results of a Eurobarometer survey on passenger rights in the European Union conducted between 19 February and 4 March 2019.

The European Union is the only continent in the world whose citizens are protected by a full set of passenger rights, inasmuch as a legislation for all transport modes was introduced to protect passenger rights and ensure they are not lost in a myriad of national rules. However, this awareness is not enough spread among citizens, since only 32% of all respondents know passenger rights exist in the Union for air, rail, coach or ship or ferry transport. And even considering those who have travelled by at least one of these modes, the result remains below 50%, attesting itself to 43%. Particularly significant are also the results concerning the percentage of travellers who feel they were well informed about their rights by transport companies before travelling, varying by transport mode but being below 40% as well.

One of the reasons behind these results lies in the disparities between national practices which can make it hard for passengers to get a clear picture of what to do and to whom to turn. In order to fight this misinformation, the Commission has stepped up efforts to make passenger rights clearer and to raise awareness about them, in particular through legislative procedures in the air and rail transport sectors. Now the ball is in the Council and the Parliament’s hands, which need to elaborate a system ensuring that people travelling in the Union are effectively protected and aware of it.

Marco Stillo