“Airline passengers have rights,” says the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines

Airplane passengers at NAIA wating for their plane ©
Airplane passengers at NAIA wating for their plane ©

FOLLOWING the mounting complaints of air passengers against airlines operating in the Philippines, the country’s  aviation authority reminds airline operators of the existence of the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights which governs the liability of air carriers in case of accidents, loss of baggage and delays and requires airlines protection, convenience and affordable travel for the public. 

“Although there is no formal, internationally agreed definition, the term passenger rights has been used to generally refer to the entitlements of passengers to protection from or compensation for certain actions by airlines and/or airports that are adverse to their interest, which are specified in government regulations or in the airline’s contract of carriage and/or other published commitments,” Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), in a statement, said.

The CAAP noted that despite the existing Airline Passenger Bill of Rights under the joint Administrative Order No.  1 of the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of Trade and Industry, passengers still complain about the lapses of airline companies.

Under the administrative order, in case of flight cancellations with or without the airline’s fault, which is force majeure, safety and or security reasons, airline travelers have the right to rebook their flight at no additional cost or the reimbursement/refund of the value of the fare, including taxes and surcharges.

When it comes to terminal delay of at least three hours after the estimated time of departure whether or not the carrier is at fault, the CAAP said, the passengers should have refreshments or meals, free phone calls, text or email, and first aid, if necessary.  Rebook the ticket without additional charge to the next flight with available space or within 30 days to a future trip.

Reimbursement/refund of the value of the fare, including taxes and surcharges, or endorsement to another air carrier without paying any fare difference, at the option of the passenger, and provided that space and other circumstances permit such re-accommodation.

For those passengers that will be affected for at least six-hour terminal delay which flight may be deemed cancelled, the airline should include hotel accommodation (conveniently accessible from the airport) and transportation from the airport to the hotel.

It added that if the passenger did not avail any of these remedies, passenger has the right to board the flight if it takes place more than six hours after the estimated time of departure. The air carrier must exert all efforts to contact the passenger for the flight.

At the same time, the CAAP meantime said international or domestic passengers also have the right to compensation, which include compensation in case of death or bodily injury.   

Benjie Vergara
A veteran reporter covering the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. He is currently writing for Manila Times, the Philippines' oldest newspaper.

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