According to the Commission, not all passengers are aware of their rights and what they are entitled to in case of delays or cancellations or in the event that they are denied boarding.
An EU-wide campaign – 'Your Passenger Rights At Hand' – was rolled out across Europe in 23 languages yesterday and includes an online portal where holidaymakers can find what their rights are when travelling by rail or air.
Posters and leaflets are also made available at train stations and airports to inform people of what they are entitled to when things go wrong during their trip.
Classic examples of such situations are delayed or cancelled journeys and lost or damaged luggage.
EU passenger rights rules also guarantee equal treatment for people with a disability or reduced mobility.
"There can never be too much information," said Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas, expressing hoe that the campaign will help millions of passengers travelling this summer and in the months to come.
EU legislation on passenger rights
Legislation to ensure that air and rail passengers enjoy the same rights across the EU-27 has been introduced in recent years (see 'Background').
But the Commission does not want to stop here and is currently working on extending passenger rights to other transport modes.
Rules applicable to those travelling by, sea, bus, coach and inland waterways were already tabled in December 2008 and the proposals are currently being debated at the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers.
The Commission also recalls that air and rail passengers "continue to enjoy protection even in exceptional circumstances," such as the eruption of the Icelandic volcano in April 2010.
While the eruption caused many difficulties for travellers, passenger rights still applied and air passengers were entitled to receive information from airlines on the situation as it evolved. They also had the right to receive refreshments, meals and accommodation as appropriate as well as the right to choose between being reimbursed or re-routed to their final destination.
However, in an exceptional circumstance such as the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, "passengers are not entitled to additional financial compensation, as would be the case where delays or cancellations are the fault of the airline," the Commission stressed.