At the end of a long consultation process, a code of conduct for low-cost airlines was drawn up and submitted by the initiating Member of the European Parliament, István Ujhelyi to the European Commissioner for Transport by Adina Vălean. The Socialist MEP expects that over time the minimum requirements will be extended to other aviation companies beyond low-cost airlines.
Just over a year ago, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism István Ujhelyi initiated the drafting of a “Code of Conduct for No-Frills Airlines”, i.e. a document setting out requirements and recommendations pertaining to budget airlines’ passenger management practices.
The MSZP politician then stressed that they did not want to take action against low-cost airlines as they welcomed this “revolutionary business model”, however previous scandals called for a strong consumer protection action plan to protect passengers’ rights.
Not only aviation but also passenger rights organizations and EU experts as well as Hungarian journalists participated in the drafting of the document, which was submitted to the European Commissioner for Transport before the holidays. István Ujhelyi said the reason that the finalization of the proposal took so long was that they tried to involve as many companies concerned as possible, which, however, were rather hostile towards the initiate or” at least varyingly tolerant.”
According to the MEP, Adina Vălean’s openness to the issue is encouraging, so it is possible that they would move forward in the direction of lawmaking over time, moreover, the MSZP’s European politician expects that, over time, the ethical expectations could be extended to the currently shaped, new and sustainable ‘aviation ecosystem’ as a whole.
Suggestions of the “No-frills Code of Conduct” include guidelines as to how and when to notify passengers of possible flight modifications, how to make re-routing possible, or how long after each passenger on board must have access to drinking water if, for any reason, takeoff is delayed.
Similarly, the Code states that customer service cannot be operated as a premium service at a higher price than the local mobile fees, or that the airline cannot retroactively change the price of an already booked ticket and the availability of related paid services. Also, in the case of a justified claim, the passenger shall be reimbursed within 30 days at the latest.
István Ujhelyi added that the document will be sent to all airlines concerned, hoping that more and more companies will join in complying with it and shall voluntarily adhere to the minimum ethical standards stated therein. “It is not only in the interest of passengers, but also of the companies that provide the service to them, as they can prove that in addition to a fair profit, the rights and interests of passengers matter them just the same,” added the MSZP MEP.
Brussels – 28-12-2019