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February 17, 2005

Budget Airlines and the Denied Boarding Directive.

As of today anyone getting bumped off an overbooked flight or facing a late cancellation in the EU gets compensation from the airline:

Under a "denied boarding" directive unveiled by the European Commission yesterday, airlines with overbooked flights must seek volunteers to give up their seats in return for free flights or other advantages.

Otherwise, passengers denied boarding will be entitled to compensation of at least £178 for short-haul flights of up to 940 miles, £284 for flights up to 1,560 miles or £425 on flights of more than 2,175 miles.

Such rules have been in place concerning flights in and out of the US for decades so what’s the problem?

The directive was criticised by low-cost carriers, including Easyjet, whose average one-way ticket costs £42. The airline said the new EU rules were "probably the most flawed piece of European legislation in recent years".

There’s the problem. The compensation rates are fixed, fixed at a level which makes sense only in light of the charges made by the legacy airlines for their full price seats. If you’ve bought a 10 pound ticket on Ryan Air (motto, "No fu**ing refunds, what part of that don’t you understand?") why on earth should you get 300 quid compensation if they’ve over booked it? You knew, when you bought the ticket, what you were getting into...cheap as chips travel with lower service levels and less reliability than the full service airlines.

As proudly announced by the European Union:

As Jacques Barrot, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Transport, has noted: “The boom in air travel needs to be accompanied by proper protection of passengers’ rights. This is a concrete example of how the Union benefits people’s daily lives. Competitiveness and competition in the air sector go hand in hand with guaranteed passengers’ rights.

Yup. We are ruled by incompetents, dunderheads who really believe, in the most drooling, slack-jawed, manner possible, that competetiveness and competition are improved by protecting the incumbents and their price structure from the terriers snapping at their heels.

Ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam



February 17, 2005 in European Union | Permalink


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I linked to this from my blog today.

Posted by: David Farrer | Feb 17, 2005 4:34:27 PM