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Airlines repeatedly are failing
to meet their obligations under European Union law to aid passengers affected
by delays and cancellations, the United Kingdom watchdog Air Transport Users
Council said Tuesday.
AUC received nearly 7,500
complaints from travelers between April and June, more than half the number it
received in the entire preceding 12 months. Many of the complaints resulted
from carriers refusing to meet emergency accommodation costs for passengers
stranded during the volcanic ash crisis.
In her introduction to the
council's annual report for the year ending March 31, chairman Tina Tietjen
created a damning indictment of airlines' behavior, accusing them as well of
failing to improve compensation for mishandled baggage. Tietjen also said
carriers have not done enough to improve their terms and conditions in line
with the EU's Air Service Regulation of 2008, intended to provide clarity and
common sense to airline pricing.
"We continue to see
numerous examples of airlines not complying with aspects of Regulation (EC) 261/2004,"
said Tietjen of the EU directive regarding passenger rights. "Likewise,
the Montreal Convention has not as yet brought about the benefits in terms of settlements
of claims for mishandled baggage that we had expected to see. Also, a number of
airlines continue to include what appear to the council to be unfair terms in
their conditions of carriage. Many airlines have not fully complied with the
provisions of the Air Services Regulation."