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Belgium > General information > Travel news in the European Union

Find here travel news related to the whole European Union or the Euro Zone.

August 2018 - Europe
: Air Passenger Rights.

In the European Union, air passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of delay (of at least 3 hours), cancellation (announced less than 14 days prior to the departure date) or overbooking (with denied boarding) of their flight. These rights were recently clarified by the Court of Justice of the European Union on two points.

On the one hand, compensation is payable even if passengers departing from the EU to a third country have a stopover outside of the European Union, provided that the whole journey was booked in a single contract. The case before the Court concerned a German passenger who departed from Berlin and was denied boarding on a connecting flight to Agadir at the stopover of Casablanca.

On the other hand, when a passenger buys an air ticket from an airline A and the latter leases the plane and the crew from another airline B, the compensation, if any, is payable by the airline A which sold the air ticket and organized the journey, even if the air ticket states that the flight is operated by the other airline. So, a charter flight is quite different from a code sharing flight. In the latter case, any compensation that may be due is to be paid by the airline that operates the flight.

As a reminder, the compensation varies from € 250 to € 600 depending on the case.

March 2018 - World: Low cost trips.

The growing popularity of low-cost airlines continues to generate responses from their competitors. For example, as for transatlantic flights, several conventional airlines (Air France, KLM, British Airways, Iberia, Alitalia, American Airlines and others) announce that they will offer low cost tickets provided travelers do not have checked baggage or want to choose their seat in the plane. Travelers will be entitled to the meal at no extra cost.

Another strategy is to serve new destinations that are not popular with low-cost airlines. Thus, Iberia announces flights three times a week between Madrid and Managua, the only air link between Europe and Nicaragua.

Promotional offers, such as the Hi Belgium Pass that Brussels Airlines offers for the second year in a row, remain among the best responses. This Pass allows you to visit two Belgian cities of your choice departing from 50 airports in Europe for only €149, excluding accommodation. It includes round-trip flight (without checked luggage), unlimited train rides during the stay and a city pass to museums and attractions in both cities.

As for the low-cost carriers, they continue reaching agreements about connections between their short- and medium-haul flights and cheap long-haul flights of other airlines. Following the Easyjet agreements with Norwegian and Westjet in 2017, Ryanair has just signed an agreement with Aer Lingus about connections between flights of both airlines.

May 2017: Europe - Promotional offers of Ryanair to Erasmus students.

As from the academic year 2017-2018, Ryanair provides the students who are members of Erasmus Student Network with a 15% discount on Ryanair flights and a free checked-in luggage. The offer is limited to 8 journeys per year. It will be available in a specific portal of the Ryanair website. In 30 years, about 3 million students took advantage of Erasmus programs that enable them to study at a foreign university.

November 2016: Europe - Travel authorization project ETIAS

The European Commission plans to implement a system of travel authorization ETIAS for foreign travelers who are exempt from visa requirements when they intend to enter the Schengen area. This system is similar to that in force in the United States, Australia and more recently in Canada. In practice, the travelers who are concerned will have to fill out an online form and pay € 5 (free for children under the age of 18). The collected data will be checked with those from the relevant data banks. Then, the travel authorization to the Schengen area will be sent by e-mail. It will be valid for 5 years. This system is expected to come into force in 2020. Citizens of about 60 countries are currently exempt from visa requirements when entering the Schengen area.

September 21, 2016: European Union
 - Roaming charges of mobile phones.

Roaming charges of mobile phones will be completely abolished as from June 2017. Initially, these charges were expected to be banned only for 90 days a year. Roaming charges would be allowed only in case of abuse of the user.

April 27, 2016: European Union - Lower roaming charges of mobile phones.

The European Commission caps the additional fees that may be charged when you use your mobile phone in other EU countries to make calls, send SMS messages or go online. From April 30, 2016, the surcharge may not exceed € 0.05 per minute for outgoing voice calls, € 0.01 per min. for incoming calls, € 0.02 per SMS and € 0.05 per megabyte for internet use.

From June 15, 2017, such surcharges will be banned when you temporary use your mobile phone in another country of the European Union. Furthermore, fees for downloading data on your portable device are capped at € 50 worldwide.
 

April 14, 2016: European Union - The Parliament adopted the directive on personal data of air passengers.

The directive on PNR ("Passenger Name Record"), the file of personal data of air passengers, has been adopted today by the European Parliament and will be soon submitted to the European Council for approval. The pieces of information required by the PNR include all the data of the passport, the means of payment (including the credit card number), food preferences, the itinerary, and the place of purchase. They must be collected by the travel agencies.

Like the information recorded at the check-in, they will be forwarded to the register (Passenger Information Unit, PIU) each member country has to set up. Airlines are responsible for the transmission of data to PIUs. The national authorities (among others, customs, police, ministries of transport and defense) will have access to these data in order to track suspicious passengers. Since personal data are not recorded in a common file, PNR data will be transmitted to other Member States upon request on a case-by-case basis. They will be made anonymous after 6 months and kept for 5 years.

Member countries have two years to implement the directive. The PNR system applies to all flights from third countries to the EU and vice versa. It may include the intra-European flights on a voluntary basis.


December 10, 2015: European Union - Update of the airlines blacklist.

The list of airlines which are subject to a ban or restrictions in the European Union has been updated. The European Commission has added Iraqi Airways to the list while it has lifted restrictions on Air Astana. Other airlines from Kazakhstan are kept in the blacklist. Thai Airlines has not been included in the European blacklist while it has been recently downgraded in the United States, Japan and South Korea.

The European blacklist includes now 236 airlines: 228 airlines from Iraq, Surinam, and 18 African or Asian countries which are fully banned as well as 8 airlines that have operational restrictions.


 

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Find here travel news related to the whole European Union or the Euro Zone. World travel guide and directory.