Safeguarding Your Air Passenger Rights

By: Hanna Rubio
Safeguarding Your Air Passenger Rights

Nothing really beats the excitement and fulfillment traveling gives because you get to finally get out of your condo near NAIA.

So, it’s really a bummer when you’re suddenly put to face problems like delayed or cancelled flights regarding your travel. Having said that, it is important to be completely wary and aware of how to deal with such a situation instead of going home to your condo in NAIA with a heavy heart.

Travelers experiencing trouble is not new so, to make sure that every passenger’s rights are not compromised, the air passenger bill of rights was forged.

What is the Air Passenger Bill of Rights in the Philippines?

What is the Air Passenger Bill of Rights in the Philippines?

The Air Passenger Bill of Rights also known as the DOTC-DTI Joint Administrative Order No.1 was mandated and signed in 2012. The bill was approved by the Department of Transportation (which was previously known as The Department of Transportation and Communication or DOTC) and The Department of Trade and Industry to safeguard the rights of air passengers.

The bill aims to protect the passenger and their rights in any case of problems or inconvenience. The bill extends to issues such as flight cancellations or delays, lost baggage, denied check-in, and even false and misleading advertisements about an airline’s fare. If ever passengers experience any of such, they are entitled to immediate assistance and compensation.

Everything you need to know about the Air Passenger Bill of Rights

Everything you need to know about the Air Passenger Bill of Rights

Below are the three (3) major rights of passengers according to the bill.

Right to be provided with accurate information prior to the purchase

All passengers, before purchasing a ticket have the right to fair, timely, and clear information about the terms and conditions that come along with purchasing a ticket. The passengers must be informed about the required documents needed for check-ins, responsibilities, and procedures when a flight is delayed or cancelled, rebooking, and refund policies.

It is important for passengers to have access to this information in order to fully understand the policies and regulations of the carrier. To avoid any confusion, it is necessary for the terms and conditions to be easily accessible to passengers. This is achieved by having them available on the carrier’s website, printed or attached to the purchased ticket or boarding pass, or sent to the passenger’s email if requested.

In addition, the terms and conditions must be explained in a language a passenger can fully and easily comprehend. The passengers are also entitled to clear, fair, transparent, and non-misleading sales promotion practices, advertisements, and reminders from the carrier.

Right to receive the full value of the purchased service

To get the full value of the purchased services, passengers have the following rights to;

Be Processed for Check-in

Be Processed for Check-in

Given that they have the complete documents, a passenger should not be denied check-in, or be considered a no-show or late if they are in the assigned area for check-in one (1) hour before the ETD or within the time advised by the air carrier.

Late passengers can be denied entry at check-in counters and may be subjected to rebooking or be asked to be on standby.

Sufficient Processing Time

To accommodate all passengers, check-in counters designated by DOTC shall be opened two (2) hours before the estimated time of departure (ETD). Other airports must open their check-in counters one (1) before the ETD.

At least one (1) check-in counter that will prioritize and accommodate senior citizens, PWDs, and other persons who are in need of special assistance. And another separate counter for those passengers with near check-in time deadlines.

Board Aircraft for the Purpose of Flight

Board Aircraft for the Purpose of Flight

No passenger should not be denied to board the plane without his/her consent. However, there are grounds for which a passenger won’t be allowed to board and that includes, immigration issues, health concerns, non-appearance at the boarding gate, safety and security, or any other problems that are legal and with valid causes.

When overbooking ensues, the air carrier should find volunteers who will give up their seats. In case there are no volunteers or it’s not enough to accommodate the rest of the passengers, the overbooking package will be increased by adding amenities or services until the number of required volunteers is reached. This is known as the auction system.

Right to Compensation

Right to Compensation and Amenities in Case of Cancellation of Flight

If a flight is cancelled 24 hours before the ETD, the passenger has the right to be informed and be given the choice to rebook or reimburse. If the cancellation is made less than 24 hours before the ETD, the passengers should be notified, given access to amenities (meals, accommodation, drinks, etc.), and reimbursement of the fare, surcharges, taxes, and other fees. In addition, the air carrier should endorse the passenger to another carrier and rebook their ticker without any charges. If the cancellation of a flight is because of security, safety, or force majeure, reimbursement of the full fare value is due.

Right to Compensation and Amenities in Case of Flight Delay and Exceptions Thereto.

Terminal delay of at least 3 hours after the ETD, whether or not caused by the air carrier, passengers of the airline are entitled to meals, phone calls, emails, first aid, rebook and/or refund the ticket, and be endorsed to another air carrier. 6 hours delay caused by the carrier, shall be deemed cancelled, is entitled to compensation, and to board the passenger if they didn’t choose to rebook or refund. A delay of 2 hours will give the passengers the right to beverages and food.

Right to Compensation for Delayed, Lost, and Damaged Baggage

Right to Compensation for Delayed, Lost, and Damaged Baggage

In terms of delayed, lost, and damaged baggage, the passenger should be informed about the offloaded baggage, a compensation of PHP 2,000 for every delay of 24 hours, and a refund of checked baggage cost if not delivered in the course of 24 hours of the arrival. If the baggage is lost or damaged, for domestic flights, passengers are entitled to half of the amount of the suitable convention in pesos. While the suitable conventions apply to international flights. A baggage is considered lost after 7 days from where the baggage should be received.

Right to Compensation In Case of Death or Bodily Injury of a Passenger

If a passenger is injured or dies during the flight, the relevant conventions for compensation apply to international flights, and the same to domestic flights only in Pesos.

Right to Immediate Payment of Compensation

The compensation must be available to the passengers at the counter on the date the incident happened, at the main office, or at any branch the passenger chooses. The compensation can be by check or cash with the air carrier providing the needed documents for claiming and should be convertible 15 days after the date of the incident.

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