Air Passenger Rights

Securing the rights of passengers to continue to bring their airport purchases onboard, in addition to their cabin baggage, without being fined.

Some air carriers implement strict cabin baggage restrictions whereby passengers are required to fit all their personal belongings, including airport purchases, into a single carry-on bag. Those unable to comply may face penalties up to €50, dispose of their items, or be denied travel. These restrictions have had a profound impact on airport sales and have led to confusion and frustration among passengers. 

ETRC is committed to securing the rights of passengers to bring their airport purchases onboard at no extra cost as part of their travel experiences. ETRC strongly believes that EU legislation is required to support enhanced air passenger rights and in particular, the right for passengers to carry their airside airport purchases on board in addition to their baggage allowance.

In March 2013, the European Commission proposed to revise the current Regulation on Air Passenger Rights EU 261/2004. As part of this revision, the European Parliament recognised the negative impact of restrictions on airport shopping on the passenger experience airport retail sales and airport revenues. At a vote in the Transport Committee in December 2013, MEPs adopted an amendment to allow passengers to bring at least one bag of airport shopping for free, in addition to airlines’ hand luggage allowance. This position was confirmed by a plenary vote at the first reading in February 2014.

As of 2023, no agreement between the European institutions has been concluded on this Regulation.  ETRC continues working to ensure that the Council follows the recommendation of the European Parliament when it comes to finalizing their position.

Study: The economics and regulation of on-board carriage of European airport retail sales

Commissioned by ETRC, and supported by ACI Europe, this study considers the impact that restrictions imposed by some airlines on passengers carrying airport shopping on-board are having on passengers’ experience at airports and on their longer term interests in the level of service and connectivity provided by the European aviation system.

The report also identifies potential detriments from this practice, considers policy solutions and recommends that proposals from the European Parliament to accord passengers the right to carry on board airport shopping in addition to hand baggage should be pursued as the most effective solution.

The study is available for download here.

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