Hungary steps up airline probes after systemic delays

Many budget airlines refuse to pay compensation for delays

The arrivals and departures board shows the delayed and canceled flights at Washington's Reagan National Airport after technical issues at a Federal Aviation Administration center in Virginia caused delays on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The way airlines treat passengers during the summer season is unacceptable, according to Hungarian officials. As a result, Hungarian Justice Minister Bence Tuzson has launched new consumer protection investigations, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) told national news agency MTI on Thursday.

It said that Tuzson had ordered eight more investigations into the extreme flight delays and cancellations in recent days, bringing the total number of investigations to 11. The procedures now underway concern flights operated by Ryanair and Wizzair.

“The practices of the airlines are intolerable. That is why I have opened eight new consumer protection investigations, bringing the total to 11. We must put an end to airlines’ disregard for passengers’ comfort and rights and, in some cases, the well-deserved rest of families. Passengers must not be left vulnerable; the law must be respected. If airlines do not comply with their legal obligations, they can face heavy consumer protection fines,” the minister was quoted as saying.

Tuzson added that airlines are “stretching” their own schedules so much that a morning flight delay can result in a delay of several hours by the end of the day. This is a particular challenge for airport operators, who are also the victims of “overstretched, ill-considered” schedules.

According to the communication, the consumer protection authority will investigate whether, in the circumstances and under the conditions set out in the so-called European Commission Regulation on air passenger rights, air carriers have provided passengers with written information at the airport, the possibility of rebooking or a refund of the ticket price, if necessary.

“In addition, passengers must be provided with specific boarding facilities. This includes meals and refreshments when rebooking at the earliest possible time, overnight accommodation and airport transfers where applicable, and two free phone calls or e-mails. In addition to the above, the passenger must also be paid a flat-rate compensation of €250, €400 or €600 depending on the distance,” the ministry stated.

The Hungarian Ministry of Justice has published a short information sheet on the rights of air passengers in the event of delays or cancellations on its website.

Share This Article