The latest report of the European Commission on passenger rights awareness shows that seven in ten EU citizens are unaware of their rights.
According to the Special Eurobarometer 420 report, 29% of the interviewed said that they had previous knowledge of passenger rights, while 68% said they did not and 3% could not answer.
Eight British people in ten unaware of their travel rights
The national analysis reveals some differences between Member States, but across Europe passenger rights awareness is just 30%.
48% of Austrians and 46% of Germans are among the most aware. But respondents in the United Kingdom (19%), Sweden (18%) and France (17%) have the lowest levels of awareness.
Air passengers better informed than others
Respondents who had used air transport in the last year were more likely to have heard of passenger rights than users of any other form of transport (41%).
In air transport, 37% of respondents think that passengers are well informed by the airline company about their rights as passengers versus 37% who disagree.
The highest levels of agreement with the quality of information airlines give are in Croatia (51% vs. 15% who disagreed), Sweden (51% vs. 33%) and Finland (49% vs. 24%). In the United Kingdom (39% vs. 39%) and Belgium (38% vs. 38%), respondents are divided.
In seven Member States a majority of respondents disagree. Spain (54% who disagreed, vs. 26% who agreed) and in Cyprus (54% vs.38%) stand out. Majorities also disagree in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark.
An overwhelming majority (81%) of disabled passengers are satisfied with the help they received. Of those, 41% are very satisfied with the support received.
The complaint lottery
65% of passengers did not lodge a complaint. 52% said they consider it useless to complain, 22% said compensation does not justify the effort, 19% said the complaint process is too difficult, and 9% did not know how or where to complain.
Among those who complained, 51% said that their complaint was well handled, while 47% said their complaint was handled badly.
More needs to be done to improve awareness
The report concluded that knowledge of passenger rights and visibility of information has room for improvement. As a result, more targeted work needs to be done to achieve greater awareness of passenger rights among European citizens.
Read the full report here (opens a new window)