European Commission is warned of action over ash claim advice
Published 29/04/2011 | 05:00
The European Ombudsman has warned that he may launch a probe in the European Commission's general health and consumers directorate after it published misleading information for air passengers during last year's volcanic ash crisis.
Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros said that the directorate had published incorrect information on its website last year in relation to the extent to which travellers could make claims against airlines if their luggage was delayed.
The directorate incorrectly told consumers that they were entitled to up to €1,223 in compensation if their luggage was delayed.
It also provided misleading information by saying that if a passenger had missed a connection due to their originating flight being cancelled or delayed that they could choose between a refund of the ticket or re-routing to their final destination.
The European Regions Airline Association, whose members include Cityjet and Aer Arann, lodged a complaint with the ombudsman after the directorate initially refused to rectify the incorrect information and only did so weeks after being told of the inaccuracies.
Yesterday, the ombudsman said tthe commission "patently failed to take the necessary remedial action as rapidly as the circumstances of the case would have made necessary. This constitutes another instance of maladministration".
He noted it wasn't the first time that the commission had published incorrect or misleading information concerning the rights of air passengers, and expressed a concern that the problem may be systemic.