Scots MEP Launches Airline Passenger Rights Awareness Campaign

19 September 2008
Alyn Smith SNP MEP for Scotland has launched an airline passenger awareness campaign to make Scots more aware of their rights under EU law in the event of their airline or travel company getting into difficulties.

The move comes in the light of a number of holiday companies and airlines filing for bankruptcy in the past month and the unfortunate expectation that other companies are in current difficulties. Previous bankruptcies have seen thousands of EU citizens stranded across Europe and North America, in some cases being forced to wait as long as a week beyond their scheduled holiday before returning home.

Many stranded passengers who were not insured or covered by the Civil Aviation Authority's ATOL scheme have had to stump up the cash for their return flight home. Few Scots are aware of their rights under EU law.

Today, Smith has launched his airline passenger rights campaign on his website, which includes user friendly information about cancellations, delays and compensation. The guidance is based on official European Commission documents, which while publicly available are not widely known. Mr Smith said: "It is sad to say that we live in economically troubled times, and the markets remain very uncertain about holiday companies in particular, but Scots do have rights under EU law which I hope will go a way to calm some fears and avoid a self-fulfilling panic.

"The collapse of Zoom Airlines and XL saw an unprecedented number of Scots stranded abroad. Unfortunately, those who were not protected by their credit card company, insurance policy or the Civil Aviation Authority Scheme were left to foot the bill home. This could potentially be a hugely expensive affair, especially for a family who may have to pay for three or four new tickets home.
"I have launched this campaign to make Scots aware that they do have rights and entitlements as an airline passenger under European Law. And secondly, I wanted to provide them with helpful, user-friendly information that they can use to help protect themselves in the event of any future delay or cancellation. "In the run up to the October holidays, I know a lot of families who are looking forward to taking a break, and rightly so. I hope this publication will go a way to ensuring that Scots are fully informed on their rights should their travel provider get into difficulties."