Ferry passengers faced with delays and cancellations are now one step closer to getting more rights, following a vote in the European Parliament this week.
Currently, boat passengers are not entitled to the levels of assistance, rights to refunds and compensation that air passengers have under the EU Denied Boarding Regulations.
But this should change now that the European Parliament has voted through new rules set to come into force in 2012 – subject to approval by member states.
This will apply to all passenger boats carrying over 12 passengers at sea and on inland waterways, with some exceptions for excursion and sightseeing tours.
Cruise ships will also have to provide assistance and information in the event of interrupted travel.
New rules for cancelled or delayed boat trips
The new rights include amongst others:
- Guarantee of reimbursement or rerouting in situations of cancellation or of delay at departure of more than 90 minutes
- Adequate assistance (such as snacks, meals, refreshments and, where necessary, accommodation for up to three nights, up to €80 per night) in situations of cancellation or delay at departure of more than 90 minutes
- Compensation, between 25% and 50% of the ticket price, in situations of delay in arrival or cancellation of journeys
- Non-discriminatory treatment and specific assistance free of charge for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at port terminals and on board ships, as well as financial compensation for loss or damage of their mobility equipment
- Minimum rules on information for all passengers before and during their journey, as well as general information about their rights in terminals and on board ships
- Establishment by carriers and terminal operators of complaint handling mechanisms available to passengers
- Establishment of independent national bodies for the enforcement of the regulations, through – where appropriate – the application of penalties
Which? welcomes the extension of passenger rights
Rochelle Turner, head of research for Which? Holiday, said: ‘This is great news for ferry passengers, putting them on an equal footing with airline passengers. All ferry passengers will now be able to rely on getting fair and adequate compensation if they are delayed or if their trip is cancelled, regardless of the ferry operator they use.’