Airlines agree special fares for stranded travellers
Major airlines have agreed to fly passengers
home at special fares if one of them goes bust. The voluntary deal covers
passengers flying from, to and within the EU. It has been agreed by members of
the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a way of heading off
calls for the establishment of a fund, set up by imposing a per passenger levy,
to pay for emergency repatriation. However, it is unlikely to satisfy consumer
bodies and travel industry leaders, who have long argued that scheduled airline
passengers should be protected in the same way as package holiday customers.
For one thing the deal already exists informally. For another, there has been
no official indication of just how low the so called “rescue fares” might be.
And the fares will be available for purchase only up to two weeks after an
airline ceases flying, so somebody out of touch could still wind up having to pay
a full one way fare. The best advice is still to pay using a credit card and
buy travel insurance with cover against scheduled airline failure.