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Commission corrects information on air passenger rights

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Press release no. 7/2007

03 July 2007

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has welcomed the European Commission's announcement that it will correct inaccurate and misleading information contained in leaflets, posters and a video presentation on air passenger rights. This follows the Ombudsman's investigation into complaints from two airline associations. They criticised the information provided by the Commission on the rights of travellers to compensation and assistance, in the event of denied boarding, cancellation of flights or long delays. The Commission informed the Ombudsman that, in line with his recommendations, it had withdrawn the leaflets, poster, fact-sheet and video presentation in question from its website. Furthermore, it announced that it would replace the erroneous information material.

The inquiry

In February 2005, new EU rules entered into force in the area of compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation of flights or long delays. The Commission published leaflets, posters and produced a video in order to inform travellers about their rights.

In April 2005, the International Air Carrier Association and the European Regions Airline Association complained to the Ombudsman that the information material published by the Commission contained a number of statements that were inaccurate and misleading.

One of the statements in the leaflets and posters read: "If you are denied boarding or your flight is cancelled, the airline operating your flight must offer you financial compensation and assistance". The Ombudsman considered that this sentence wrongly suggested that compensation had to be paid in every case where a flight is cancelled. While the Ombudsman accepted that the Commission could not be expected to provide complete information in these formats, he considered that the information given must be accurate.

The Commission accepted the Ombudsman's recommendations and announced that it would replace the erroneous information material. Furthermore, it stated that the new information material had been sent to the stakeholders concerned, including the complainants, for comments.

To read the Ombudsman's decisions in these two cases, please go to:

 

 

 

 

For information about the case: Gerhard Grill, Principal Legal Advisor, tel. +33 388 17 2423

The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions and bodies. Any EU citizen, resident, or an enterprise or association in a Member State, can lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman offers a fast, flexible, and free means of solving problems with the EU administration. For more information: www.ombudsman.europa.eu

For press inquiries: Ms Gundi Gadesmann, Deputy Head of the Communication Unit, tel.: +32 2 284 26 09, Twitter: @EUombudsman