Euro-MP Graham Watson has issued a reminder to the millions of people left stranded by the Icelandic volcano that they may have the right to claim free accommodation and refreshments under EU Regulations.
A 2004 Regulation setting out the obligations of airlines to their passengers in situations such as these applies to all passengers of European registered airlines and flights from airports based in EU member states.
Watson pointed out that this covers more people than expected.
“I was contacted this morning by a constituent who is stranded in Iceland” said Watson. “She was surprised to find out that she is entitled to accommodation and refreshments.”
Under EU law, when a person books a flight, they enter into a contract with the airline to get them from one destination to another. If a flight is cancelled, passengers have two options; they can take a refund and exit the contract, or ask to be scheduled onto another flight or travel by other means.
When passengers choose the latter option, the airline has a duty to provide accommodation, transport to this accommodation, and meals and refreshments where necessary.
Watson said: “EU rules recognise that airlines have a duty to their passengers, even in extraordinary circumstances such as these.
“People shouldn’t expect five-star, luxury accommodation, but EU rules do provide comfort for those stranded abroad and their concerned relatives at home.
“As Nick Clegg pointed out this morning, what is important now is for government ministers from all affected countries to put their heads together and find a way of getting people home.”