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Pressure on KLM over ash claims

Pressure has been mounting on Dutch airline KLM to fully compensate British travellers stranded earlier this year during the volcanic ash cloud crisis.

The airline said it would only pay 24 hours worth of hotel and meal bills to those affected, despite current EU legislation stating that "reasonable costs" should not be time limited.

KLM now faces the possible threat of legal action by the European Commission if it does not comply with existing EU laws.

Both the European Commission and Dutch authorities have received complaints from British holidaymakers facing problems in securing compensation from the airline.

Frustrated travellers have set up a Facebook page called "KLM must support passengers stranded by ash cloud" to vent their anger over claiming for accommodation and food bills while flights were delayed.

Thousands of passengers had their travel plans wrecked in April and May as airlines had to ground flights after ash from an Icelandic volcano spread into European airspace.

The European Commission wrote to KLM on July 30 reminding them of current EU regulations which does not allow for limiting compensation to a single night.

A European Commission spokeswoman said: "We would very much hope and expect that following the European Commission's intervention we would swiftly see a clarification from KLM of their policy - so that it is in line with the EU law. If that is not the case then of course there are further steps that can be taken with legal action at national or EU level to make sure the EU law is fully respected."

British passengers encountering problems were being advised to contact the UK's Air Transport Users Council to obtain assistance. British enforcement body the Civil Aviation Authority said it had also been in touch with KLM.

A CAA spokesman said: "The CAA is aware of the issue and has been in contact with the airline in question to remind them of their responsibilities. We will continue to monitor the situation closely to see that passengers get the compensation they deserve."

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