Thursday

29th Feb 2024

EU encourages air passengers to claim their rights amid ash disruptions

  • Stranded passengers have the right to compensation (Photo: afagen)

Stranded air passengers have the right to care and compensation even in the "exceptional circumstances" of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud which has caused major flight disruptions in mainland Europe, EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas said on Thursday (15 April).

Hundreds of thousands of European passengers have been affected following the cancellation of some 5,000 flights on Thursday after the ash cloud formed by the major volcanic eruption moved eastwards. The ash can clog up the engines of airplanes meaning the vast majority of flights have been grounded.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

One by one, the entire national airspace was closed from Ireland to Scandinavia, Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands. The main airports in Poland, Germany and France were also shut down on Thursday evening.

Mr Kallas praised the swift actions taken by European air traffic authorities to keep planes on the ground as "the volcanic ash cloud is a very significant threat to air safety."

But even if this situation was considered "a very exceptional circumstance," he stressed that EU passenger rights "continue to apply and air travellers should speak up to claim their rights."

These include the right to refreshments, meals, accommodation, as well as reimbursement of fares or re-routing options.

The European air traffic control organisation said the ash cloud was progressing very slowly and remained "very dense," meaning that the flight cancellations could continue throughout the weekend.

In Poland, this could pose serious difficulties for world leaders wanting to attend Saturday's funeral of the late President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, along with other 95 Polish officials who died in a plane crash last week.

Analysis

Almost 20 names in running for EU top jobs

With four months until the European Parliament elections, there are already some 20 names in the hat for the ensuing reshuffle of EU top jobs.

Latest News

  1. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats
  2. EU won't yet commit funding UN agency in Gaza amid hunger
  3. EU Commission clears Poland's access to up to €137bn EU funds
  4. Right of Reply: The EU-ACP Samoa agreement
  5. The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse
  6. Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms
  7. Podcast: Hyperlocal meets supranational
  8. Von der Leyen appeals for 'new EU defence mindset'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us