Airlines promise to rescue stranded passengers

Customer protection agreement: No Passenger Left Behind

The International Air Transport Association has announced a new arrangement to help passengers impacted by airline bankruptcy. A voluntary agreement on behalf of its members flying to, from and within Europe will cover the repatriation of passengers unable to return home due to an airline ceasing operations as a result of financial failure.

“I am delighted to say that passengers left stranded in the rare and unfortunate event of an airline bankruptcy will be offered ‘rescue fares’ from airlines to ensure they can get home,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, speaking at a round-table meeting with journalists in Brussels on Tuesday.

The agreement formalises a long-standing custom that many airlines have traditionally offered in these rare instances.

Under the agreement, in the event of an airline bankruptcy, IATA member airlines flying to and from the EU will make their best efforts to offer repatriation to passengers stranded away from home. These passengers will be provided access to discounted transport to return home, subject to available capacity.

The “rescue fares” of a nominal amount will be available for purchase up to a maximum of two weeks after the event to anyone flying to or from or within Europe who does not already possess insurance covering this eventuality.

States responsible for the licensing of the insolvent airline should also play their role in communicating to stranded passengers the possibility of this rescue service.

“This agreement on rescue fares shows that the airline industry is more determined than ever to ensure reliable and consistently excellent customer service,” Tyler said. “Airlines have formalised a unique cooperation agreement that puts passenger needs first.”

Travel Weekly

[photo courtesy Riga International Airport]

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