PASSENGERS' EXPERIENCE OF AIR TRAVEL
Terms of Reference and Call for evidence
Two-hundred and twenty-eight million passengers passed through UK airports in 2005. This number has increased more than 100-fold since 1950 and is forecast to reach between 350 and 460 million by 2020. It raises the question: is quality keeping pace with quantity?
Several factors must come together seamlessly in order for a passenger to have a good flying experience, beginning with the purchase of a ticket and ending at the final destination. With increasing numbers of people booking flights on the Internet or over the telephone, the passenger herself is now the travel agent. With this change has come less certainly about the terms and conditions of tickets and the full cost, including any 'hidden' charges or taxes.
This is the first step in the passenger journey, which includes arranging transport to the airport, checking in, going through security at the airport itself, checking or taking on baggage and, finally, arriving at the destination.
Difficulties can be caused by any number of factors, from hidden charges, delays and cancellations to poor customer service, inaccessible buildings and aircraft and poorly-maintained facilities. Do airports and airlines do enough to minimise passengers' inconvenience?
The inquiry will consider:
Tickets: ease of purchase, transparency of additional charges and total cost, availability of discounted flights, clear terms and conditions.
Travel to airports: adequacy of bus and rail links.
Airports: accessibility for elderly and disabled people, quality of check-in procedures, airport facilities, security.
Baggage: rules for carry-on, excess baggage charges, lost and stolen baggage, ground handling arrangements.
Aircraft: comfort of seating, adequacy of facilities, food, drink etc, customer service, dealing with disruptive passengers.
The inquiry will also consider:
When things go wrong how well does the system work: Do passengers know what they are entitled to in the event of a delay or cancellation? How easy is it to get compensation from airlines? Are international conventions about passengers' entitlements adequately enforced?
Whether there is a difference in the general experiences of budget/low-cost airline passengers as opposed to those who use standard carriers.
How airport charges are passed on, through the airlines, to passengers and whether the proposed EU Directive (COM (2006) 820) will make the process clearer.
Interested parties are invited to submit written memoranda to the Committee
no later than Monday 5 March 2007.
Guidance on submitting written evidence
It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Submissions should be as short as is consistent with conveying the relevant information. As a rough guide, it is usually helpful if they can be confined to six pages or less. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. A single-page summary of the main points is sometimes helpful. The submission should be in a form suitable for monochrome photocopying.
2. Evidence should be submitted in Word or Rich Text format, by e-mail to the above address. The body of the e-mail should include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. It should be absolutely clear who the submission is from, particularly whether it is on behalf of an organisation or in the name of an individual.
3. Once accepted by the Committee, written evidence becomes the Committee's property and it may decide to publish it or make other public use of it. You should not publish evidence submitted to the Committee. If you wish your submission, or any part of it, to be treated as confidential, then please indicate this clearly when you submit it.
4. Though the Committee is happy to receive copies of published material, formal submissions of evidence should be original work and not published elsewhere.
5. Committee staff are happy to give further advice on any aspect of the Committee's work by phone or e-mail.
More detailed guidance on giving evidence to a select committee is available on-line at:
1.The Membership of the Transport Committee is as follows:
Gwyneth Dunwoody (Chairman) (Crewe and Nantwich), David Clelland (Tyne Bridge), Jeffrey M Donaldson (Lagan Valley), Clive Efford (Eltham), Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside), Philip Hollobone (Kettering), John Leech (Manchester Withington), Eric Martlew (Carlisle), Lee Scott (Ilford North), Graham Stringer (Manchester Blackley), David Wilshire (Spelthorne).
Press Notice 17/2006-07 8 February 2007