Höhere Gewalt

Higher violence or higher power, but it means force majeure, an event or effect that can be neither anticipated nor controlled. This has been defined more narrowly recently to limit E.U. railways’ and airlines’ ability to refuse to compensate passengers by claiming helplessness after poor management.

Even in force majeure cases such as bad weather, landslides or labor strikes, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said on 26 Sep 2013, passenger railways will still owe customers some money back after a late train arrival.

If your E.U. train is 1 hour late, you have the right to reimbursement of 25% of the purchase price of your ticket. 2 hours, 50%.

As part of their reporting on the Court’s decision, ARD tagesschau.de interviewed rail passengers waiting at German train stations, many of whom said they had in the past qualified for money back due to late trains but didn’t bother going through with the paperwork.

On 05 Feb 2014, the E.U. Parliament voted to strengthen air passenger rights, in part by passing a stricter, eight-part definition of force majeure for airlines.

Though they’re not done wending their way through the governments yet, the new rules would give passengers on E.U. flights delayed >3 hours the right to 300 euros from their airline, >5 hours = 400 euros, and >7 hours = 600 euros.

(HƏ ƏH rah   geh VAULT.)

Fahrgastverband

Passengers association.

The European Passengers’ Federation warned in an August 2013 Spiegel.de article that the airlines’ lobbying efforts in Brussels were getting their proposed rule changes into drafts of new guidelines that would make passengers pay for airlines’ management mistakes.

Specifically, it looked like airlines might be pushing successfully to raise the threshold of a three-hour delay, after which airlines owe up to 600 euros to each delayed passenger, up to five hours or even longer.

A Christmas 2013 Spiegel.de article said 36% of European flights experience delays but only 2% to 4% of delayed European air passengers with a right to the >3-hour money were claiming it because the airlines were making the procedure as difficult as possible, e.g. by requiring each passenger to go to court.

Apparently private companies are stepping up to help. Firms like EUClaim.de and FairPlane.de (“No disadvantages without advantages!”) will prosecute your claim for you, taking 30% of any money obtained but not charging you if they lose.

(Far GHAST fair bond.)

Totalüberwachung: Londoner Verhältnisse

“Total surveillance: London conditions.” The U.K. situation.

What the Bavarian state data protection officer mentioned as undesirable in a newspaper interview earlier this month. Even the act of putting cameras in public places, which England has notoriously taken to new levels, creates a social selection process, he said. He did not want a society that produces only conformists.

(Tote OLL über VOCHH oong:   Lun done ah fur HAIL t niss eh.)

Schlichtungsstelle für Flugreisende

“Arbitration board for air passengers.” Created on 03 May 2013 by the Bundesrat to support consumers traveling by air. Starting November 2013, passengers in Germany can contact this office to seek information about passenger rights and financial remuneration from airports and airlines after e.g. delayed connections, missed connections and/or lost luggage. What airlines owe passengers after which screwups is also being defined in regulations.

Update on 01 Nov 2013: German air passengers can now contact the Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personenverkehr [German Conciliation Body for Public Transport] to start arbitration proceedings in disputes with airlines. German rail, bus and ship passengers already had this right from that office. Costs for the proceedings will be paid by German transport companies; passengers requiring arbitration in a transport dispute will only have to pay their own costs.

The söp’s charming and helpful English page stated,

“A traveller can get help with a complaint about delays and missed connections, train and plane cancellations, damaged or lost luggage, faulty information, tickets and reservations, and/or bad service. The main task of the söp is the out-of-court settlement of individual disputes between travellers and the transport companies. Within this, söp also helps to strengthen the customer satisfaction with the transport company. […]”

“The söp follows a service and practical approach, as intermodal (‘verkehrsträgerübergreifende’) settlement scheme. It is common for travellers to use more than one form of transport (e.g., train to plane), which can take up a lot of time in a dispute by investigating the whole chain of transport, including the responsible contracted partners. With the söp the consumer does not have to deal with the question of responsibility and can, independent from the transport of choice, just deal with one contact person at söp (one-face-to-the-customer-approach).”

(SCHLICHH toongz shtell ah   foor   FLOOG rye zen dah.)

Fluggastrechteverordnung

“Air passenger rights regulation,” the EU’s Passenger Compensation Regulation. A recent European Court of Justice decision narrowed their definition of force majeure exceptions to airlines’ responsibilities for stranded passengers in the European Union.

(FLEW ghast WRECKED eh fair ORD noong.)

Blog at WordPress.com.