Category: Archive

Passengers have options, say advocates

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

“A switch went off in my head. I was so angry that they ruined three days,” said Hanni, who heads up the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights (www.flyersrights.com). “We could not get a truthful statement.
“We could have gotten another flight,” said Hanni, an Irish-American resident of the Napa Valley. She and her husband, wine master Tim Hanni, would have gladly paid a few hundred dollars extra to avoid any delay, she said.
“They’re trying to avoid ‘passenger migration;’ that’s the insider term for it [rebooking with another airline],” she said. “It’s partlywhy they hold passengers on planes.”
If Hanni seeks to improve passengers’ rights, she also wants people to be more aware of the options they already have.
She said that the three major credit card companies — Visa, MasterCard and American Express – will support consumers who did not get what they paid for and even fight on their behalf with regard to penalty fees.
Hanni read about the Flyglobespan debacle in which 240 Knock-bound passengers were left stranded at New York’s JFK airport for several days from June 28.
“I couldn’t believe it — that they [the airline] weren’t more responsive,” she said.

Regulation 261
However Hanni and other passenger advocates say that the situation is somewhat different to that of a domestic flight.
“You don’t have many rights in the United States,” said Paul Hudson, of the Aviation Consumer Action Project, based in Washington D.C. Flyglobespan’s Y2-202, however, was a scheduled flight of an EU-based airline into an EU country. “The passengers should cite European Commission Regulation 261,” he said.
In force since February 2005, it says that passengers are entitled to abandon their journey and receive a refund if delayed for five hours. It lays out guidelines about refreshments, meals and communications, which passengers booked on the June 28 flight said they didn’t get.
“There is also a cash compensation for their inconvenience,” Hudson added. He said that according to European Commission rules each Flyglobespan passenger is entitled to

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