Luckily the Commission doesn’t want travellers to face similar lengthy periods of thumb-twiddling when they are stranded as a result of an airline failure or delay.
So it has create an Apple-based service to assist passengers if they find themselves in difficulties.
The iPhone and iPad application (Your Passenger Rights)¬†currently covers air and rail transport services and works in a Q&A-style format, allowing users to identify the problem they may be experiencing and an explanation of their rights and options.
The app is available in 22 languages around the continent and, handily for those who may find themselves suddenly stranded at an obscure airport or rail station, works offline without the need for a live web connection.
Information covered in the app includes what to do if there is an error in a booking, rights during disruption or long delays, package holiday protection and available services for travellers with reduced mobility.
Bus, coach and sea transport will be added to the application in 2013, the EC says.
The app was produced by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport in Brussels, home of the Commission in Belgium.