Passengers – you (may) have more rights now

From December 21, 2012 Airline passengers may have more rights.
The Air Passenger Bill of Rights,  which aims to protect travelers from what are perceived to be abusive practices by local and foreign airlines — has been signed and will be implemented in time for the rush in Christmas traffic. 

The bill will take effect on December 21, or 10 days from publication on Tuesday, December 11. It was signed by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Trade Secretary Gregorio Domingo on December 10 since their respective units will approve the mechanics of promotions, and the latter the fares.

It sets guidelines on several airline practices, including overbooking, rebooking, ticket refunds, cancelled and delayed flights, lost luggage and misleading advertisements on fares, the top causes of passenger complaints in 2011.

Here you find a true copy of the bill: Air-Passenger-Bill-of-Rights Link

Here is a short, interpreted form:

1. Offloaded baggage

If your checked-in baggage were offloaded from the flight you’re in due to “operational, safety, or security reasons,” the airline has to inform you ASAP, give you a report, and ensure that your offloaded baggage is carried in the next flight with available space.

The airline should deliver the baggage to you within an hour from the time the flight carrying your baggage arrives at your destination. The airline must pay you P2,000 for every 24 hours that your baggage is delayed. A fraction of a day shall be considered as one day.

2. Overbooked flights

An airline is allowed to overbook a flight — an industry practice of selling more than the seats the aircraft has, based on demand-supply for a specific flight — as long as the passengers who are bumped off do so voluntarily.

If you volunteer to choose a different flight, the airline will offer you compensation in the form of amenities or cash incentives.

If the number of volunteers is not enough to resolve the overbooking, the airline is mandated to increase the compensation package by adding more services until the required number of volunteers is met.

3. Airline promotions

All airlines have to outline their the limitations and restrictions in both English and Filipino.

When advertising promotions, along with disclosing refund and rebooking policies, baggage allowance policies, government taxes and surcharges, other mandatory fees and charges, the airlines also have to include the number of seats offered.

4. Check-in

If you arrive within the designated check-in area at least one hour before the flight’s published time of departure, you will not be considered late and the carrier is obliged to make sure you are checked in within the deadline.

5. Flight cancellation

If your flight is cancelled, you have to be notified beforehand via public announcement or written notice such as through a text message.

If an air carrier cancels the flight because of force majeure, safety or security reasons the passenger shall have the right to be reimbursed for the full value of the fare.

6. Flight delays

In the case of delayed departures, airlines are required to provide free food, drinks, Internet access, phone use and, in extreme circumstances, hotel lodging until the flight departs.

Your flight is considered cancelled if it is delayed at least 6 hours after the original departure time. You have the right to be compensated accordingly


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