With uncertainty continuing about travel arrangements following the volcanic eruption in Iceland, it is important that people who are stranded abroad realise their rights.
This is the view of Galway East Fianna Fáil TD Noel Treacy, who is encouraging people to relay information about consumer rights to family members and friends stranded abroad.
“I can only imagine the frustration being felt by people who are told that they will not be able to return home for another week or more,” he said. “For financial, medical or business, and personal reasons people want and need to get home.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs has been dealing with people with health problems who are running low on medicine because their trip has been extended. In such cases Irish officials are working with local health authorities.
However Dep Tracey said it is “very important that people know their legal rights while they are in this position”.
Under EU Law, if your flight is cancelled with no prior notice for long periods you are entitled to be informed of your legal rights by your airline; food and refreshments in relation to the waiting time; accommodation if a stay of one of more nights become necessary; and transport between the airport and place of accommodation. It is also important to keep receipts for all expenses incurred.
“I would urge people to get the message through to family members or loved ones stranded abroad that they have rights and that they should demand those rights from their airline,” said Dep Tracey.
The Department of Foreign Affairs crisis centre is manned from 9am each morning until into the evening, with closing time dictated by demand. The number is 01 - 4082999. Information is also available from the Commission for Aviation Regulation (www.aviationreg.ie ), the National Consumer Agency (www.consumerconnect.ie ) and Fianna Fáil (www.fiannafail.ie/content/pages/4095 ).