Rail passengers in Europe can now claim compensation if their train is late and if their luggage is lost. Under new rules, a delay of one to two hours means a quarter of the ticket price back — longer than that and it is 50 percent. EU governments can wait up to 15 years before they enforce these rights, but only for short trips within their own country.
Although the UK has taken the option not to enforce the measure yet, the eventually EU-wide legally binding rights regime will apply to many millions of train journeys in Europe every year. The rules also ensure compensation if a passenger’s bag goes missing or is damaged. The traveller can claim up to 1,285 euros for each piece. That, with the lateness penalty imposed on the transport companies, has drawn complaints from the industry that such measures are not being uniformly applied. The railway community has formally welcomed the European framework, while insisting that comparable passenger rights must be introduced for all modes of transport. Johannes Ludewing, Executive Director Community of European Railways, said: “If you compare the rules you know, for example for rail now, a delay of one hour, then you have (for international trains) to give a reimbursement of 25 percent. There is nothing comparable I think for airlines — the same after two hours, there is nothing. We have to pay back 50 percent of what the person has paid. The airlines don’t have to pay anything.” An air carrier must feed and lodge delayed mid-to-long-haul passengers and, if their plane has been held up for more than five hours, give them all their ticket money back, but a two-hour delay entitles them to nothing.