[nextpage title=”5 Basic Rights of Airline Passengers”]When traveling via aircraft, it is best to know the rights of airline passengers and know how to act in case you got yourself in trouble. Here, we summarized the Air Passenger Bill of Rights.
As an air passenger, you have three (3) Major Rights.
First, you have the right to be provided with accurate information about the flight before purchasing a ticket. This is very important especially for promo flights. You have the right to know the airline’s limitations, restrictions and policies on refund and rebooking, baggage allowance, government taxes, surcharges, other mandatory fees and charges, and the number of seats offered.
Second, you have the right to obtain the full worth of the service you purchased. This is discussed in detail on the numbered list below.
Lastly, you have the right to be properly compensated. Compensations must be available immediately through tendering a check, cash or necessary documents exchangeable to cash within 15 days from the incident.
Here is a more detailed discussion on your rights:
You are not considered late and should not be denied check-in if you arrived at least one hour before the estimated time of departure (ETD) in the air carrier’s enclosed or other designated check-in area. The air carrier must ensure you are checked in within the deadline and can board the plane on time.
International Airports shall have their check-in counters open at least two (2) hours before the estimated time of departure. All other airports must have their check-in counters open for at least one (1) hour before the estimated time of departure.
If you are nearing to your check-in deadline, you have the right to sufficient processing time. A separate dedicated counter must be open to facilitate you to ensure you will be checked-in successfully. Persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and those who require special assistance or handling shall be given at least one (1) priority lane, if practicable.
You have the right to be informed if your baggage has been off-loaded from the air carrier and be informed of the reason therefore. The off-loaded baggage shall be carried by the next available flight and shall be delivered to you personally or to your residence.
If your baggage is not delivered to you within an hour from the flight carrying your baggage arrives, you have the right to be compensated with Php2,000 for every twenty-four (24) hours of delay, and to be refunded of the checked baggage fees. A fraction of a day is considered one day in calculating compensation. A baggage not delivered to you after seven (7) days is presumed lost.
In case of loss or damage, the relevant convention applies for international flights. While for domestic flights, you have the right to be compensated for a maximum of half the relevant convention for international flights’ amount in peso.
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3. Flight Delays
Delays could be Terminal, or the passengers are still waiting for boarding at the terminal; or Tarmac, whereby the passengers have already boarded the aircraft.
In at least three (3) hours of Terminal Delay after the estimated time of departure, you have the right to avail of refreshments and meals, free phone calls, texts, emails, and first aid, if needed. You also have the right to rebook or refund your ticket, or to be endorsed to another carrier. A flight delayed for more than six (6) hours after the estimated time of departure is considered cancelled, thus you can avail of the rights and amenities provided for an actual cancelled flight. But, that is if the causes of the delay are attributable to the air carrier.
For at least two (2) hours of Tarmac delay after the estimated time of departure, you have the right to avail of sufficient foods and beverages.
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4. Flight Cancellation
If the flight is cancelled at least 24 hours after the estimated time of departure due to causes arising from the air carrier, you have the right to be notified of the cancellation in advance through public announcement, written or published notice, or a text message; and be rebooked or reimbursed of the fare depending on which option you will choose.
If the cancellation is less than 24 hours before the estimated time of departure and the causes are attributable to the air carrier, aside from your right to be notified beforehand of the flight cancellation, you also have the right to be provided with amenities such as food and drinks, hotel accommodations, transport from the airport to the hotel and vice versa, etc., to be reimbursed of the fare’s value, to be endorsed to other aircraft without paying any fare difference, or to be rebooked without additional charge.
For cancelled flights due to other causes such as force majeure, safety and/or security reasons, you have the right to be reimbursed of the fare’s full value.
You cannot be denied boarding the plane for the purpose of flight without your consent. Unless, there is overbooking or other legal and valid causes. In case of overbooking, the air carrier should look for passengers who will voluntarily give up their seats in trade for air carrier compensation.
If you volunteer to give up your seat, you have the right to be provided with a list of amenities and offers which you can choose from. The list of amenities must always include the option to prioritize your booking in the next flight that has available space, or be endorsed to another carrier after paying any fare difference and be provided with accommodation or cash compensation.
In case there are not enough passenger volunteers to resolve the overbooking, the air carrier is required to increase the compensation package or add more amenities and services offer until the necessary number is met.
Who to Contact for Administrative Matters?
As per Section 17, Chapter 5 of Philippine Passenger Bill of Rights:
Air carriers shall provide Customer Service Representatives who can address common problems, such as arranging for meals and hotel rooms for stranded passengers, settling denied boarding compensation, arranging luggage resolutions, and settling other routine claims or complaints, on the spot. In addition, the Civil Aviation Board or CAB may provide Complaints and Assistance Desks in all airports. These shall be manned by CAB or CAB-deputized personnel, who shall assist passengers whose rights to the service have not been fully satisfied by the air carrier. The said personnel shall assist in the filing and prosecution of the complaints of passengers whose rights have been violated and who wish to go after the concerned air carriers.
So that’s pretty much it! Needless to say, it’s really good to know these rights. Don’t forget to share with your family and friends, and fellow travelers!