- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Members of the European Commission have unveiled a proposal — a sort of bill of rights — that recognizes airline travelers as humans with needs, not cargo to be carted.

Among the proposals, BBC reports: Passengers delayed by more than 12 hours will be rerouted onto rival airlines, if a flight is available. Passengers will be compensated when delays and cancellations occur due to natural disasters or airline union strikes. Airlines will pay for three nights’ hotel stay for stranded passengers — and more, for travelers who are pregnant, underaged or handicapped.

The new rules, due to take shape as law after 2014, are aimed at providing both airport officials and travelers with more certainty.

“It is very important that passenger rights do not just exist on paper,” said EU transport commission Siim Kallas, in the BBC report. “We know that the real priority for stranded passengers is just to get home. So our focus is on information, care and effective rerouting.”

The overall goal is better communication and speedier response time to complaints, BBC says.

“The main problem for passengers is that, while they have very strong passenger rights defined under EU law, they can have difficulty claiming them and feel frustrated when air carriers do not appear to apply them,” Commission members said, in a statement reported by BBC.