Protection aboard: passenger rights, travel insurance or both?
While flight disruptions, baggage handling issues and health related accidents are nearly impossible to predict when travelling, measures like travel insurance and EU air passenger rights are of growing importance. Europe is one of the few regions where baggage mishandling rate is higher than the global average and flight delays are on the rise each year. However, being compatible, travel insurance and EU air passenger law form a thorough protection.
According to Eurocontrol, on average nearly a quarter of all European flights in 2017 arrived late to their destination with punctuality dropping by 4% compared to the same data in 2016. Airline operations remain the main cause of primary delays, suggesting European law for air passenger rights – EC 264 regulation – to be effective in most of the cases. Sadly, only 40% of Europeans would use their right to up to €600 pay outs for more than 3 hour delays, cancellations and overbookings.
Moreover, the use of travel insurance is also rare. Despite a high chance rate of a baggage loss, at least in Great Britain, around 40% of 18 to 34 year olds travel without the insurance. While the majority of millennials, according to Finder, find it redundant, others say that travelling not insured is a risk they are willing to take.
Depending on a plan, travel insurance may cover medical expenses, compensate for a trip cancellation, lost luggage and a number of other losses that occurred while travelling. One can choose from a variety of options provided by the airlines, agencies and even some credit card issuers.
“Whenever you are travelling, there are a million of situations that can go wrong and sometimes ignorance is bliss. Yet when flying in summer and especially longer trips it’s worth considering all options for a better protection. What’s important and, according to our experience what people are not sure about, is how travel insurance compares and/or intersects the EU passenger law. The answer is simple – they don’t. It’s like comparing apples and oranges, “explains the CEO of flight compensation company SKYCOP, Marius Stonkus.
Being separate measures the law and insurance might complement each other or overlap. For instance, when flight has been delayed for more than three hours or cancelled less than 14 days prior to departure, the passenger gets a double win – a pay out from the insurance agency and EC 264 flight compensation.
“Let’s say the passenger is using travel insurance provided by the carrier, then it’s hard to predict whether the airline would agree with paying both sums, yet no matter if the company’s policy outlines compensations or if the traveller had any other form of insurance, the airline is obliged to transfer up to €600 flight compensation,” says M. Stonkus.
Getting travel insurance comes especially handy when the air passenger law is short to protect your flight in cases like lost luggage and health related accidents. Based on air transport communications and IT agency SITA, European passengers have a four times higher chance of losing their checked-in belongings compared to their North American counterparts, while, according to data collected by Finder, in 2016 up to 160 thousand Britons were paid over €220 million for emergency medical treatment. For some, these numbers are sufficient to check the travel insurance box and while others are happy to take the risk, at least all of them can enjoy the protection provided by the EU law.
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