The European Commission presents new proposals that should make life easier for passengers in the EU. The Commission’s proposal contains a series of initiatives aiming to improve the experience of passengers and travellers by strengthening their rights.

What is the purpose of the proposal?

The EU’s passenger rights apply to more than 13 billion passengers a year – by plane, train, bus, and ship. But not everyone gets the full benefit of their rights. With the new proposals, the Commission wants to change this. Studies show that only one in three passengers knows their rights and where to go if they want to enforce them. Therefore, the Commission is aiming for more information and focus on passenger rights and, in general, to make it easier for consumers in the EU to make use of their rights and enforce them if necessary.

Key points of the proposal

  • Reinforcing passenger rights
    The new proposals seek to enhance and simplify the enforcement, so it is easier for consumers to complain, and to get a full refund, if the journey is cancelled. In addition, the proposal seeks to ensure a clear refund procedure for passengers who have purchased their ticket from an intermediary. The proposals also seek to make travelling easier for passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility. If someone needs to assist them to complete the journey, the airline will be obligated to transport that person free of charge. This is already the case when travelling by train and ship.
  • More effective rules on package travel
    The proposal aims to make the protection of package travellers more effective. Especially during crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, where several tour operators went bankrupt. Therefore, clearer and stronger rights for travellers are being introduced, including rules on refunds and down payments.
  • Easier access to real-time information
    Consumers should have easier access to real-time information: Live updates on transport options, including delays and cancellations. The traders are obligated to provide additional data, such as bicycle accommodation on trains and accessibility features.
  • Creating a common European mobility data space
    A common mobility data space will ensurebetter access, sharing and reusing of data to keep travellers and freight operators up to date, e.g., on traffic conditions/transport delays. This is key to innovative transport services, safety, sustainability, multimodality, and data-driven transport policy.
  • Improving passenger rights in the context of multimodal journeys
    The proposal aims to effective multimodal travel, allowing passengers to combine various collective transport modes. The strategy aims to enhance passenger protection during disruptions to make multimodal travel more attractive. Strengthening the regulatory framework for passenger rights is emphasized, aiming for better implementation, clarity, reimbursement and possible compensation.

Next steps

The Commission’s proposals must now be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. The status of the proposals is ’waiting for the committee decision.’  The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) reviewed the framework in a plenary session and adopted its opinion on 20 March.

Want to know more?

Find more background information on the website of the European Commission: Improved rights and better information for travellers (