‘This looks like yet another example of government by press release – reannouncing things that already exist’
A senior aviation source has dismissed the government’s much-delayed Aviation Passenger Charter as “meaningless piffle”.
The online document was first promised by ministers in June 2018. The Department for Transport (DfT) finally published the charter this week.
The 10,000-word charter sets out “what you, as a passenger, need to know about your rights and responsibilities when flying”.
It covers “what you can reasonably expect from your airline, travel agent, tour operator and airport, and sets out best practice in terms of how passengers should be treated”.
But the source said: “This looks like yet another example of ‘government by press release’ with ministers re-announcing things that already exist.
“There is nothing new in the charter that I can see. It ranges from stating the bleeding obvious to meaningless piffle.”
Included in the advice for passengers is: “Make sure you have any necessary documents with you when you travel.
“Make sure you plan your journey to the airport in advance, including what form of transport you will take to get there, and leave plenty of time to arrive for check-in.
“If you have checked in online, ensure that you take your boarding pass with you to the airport.”
The charter contains some surprising information, such as: “Airlines must provide a breakdown of all taxes and charges included in your ticket. These are necessary additional charges that are included in the base fare of your ticket.”
Yet the standard aviation industry definition of “base fare” is the price before any taxes, fees and charges are added.
The charter explains its purpose as: “We want everyone to enjoy the ease, convenience and benefits of travelling by air.”
A DfT spokesperson said: “This is an unfair characterisation of the charter, which has been designed alongside industry representatives to be a one-stop shop setting out existing rights for consumers in a clear, easy to understand way.”