Airline passengers bumped off from flights to get more compensation — CABBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — Airline passengers bumped off from flights due to the practice of overbooking will now get higher compensation for their trouble, according to an order by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).
Amid increasing passenger complaints against budget carriers that allegedly bump off passengers arbitrarily, the CAB on Monday published Economic Regulation No. 7, defining the rights of ticket holders.
The main provision is the increase in compensation for passengers that, through no fault of their own, are denied boarding from a flight.
“Carriers shall pay passengers holding confirmed reserved space, who have presented themselves for carriage at the proper time and place, and fully complied with the carrier’s check-in and reconfirmation procedures, who have been denied boarding for the lack of space,” the new rule said.
Passengers on domestic flights will be entitled to a full refund plus a compensation of P3,000, up from the previous rate of P150 that was set in the 1970s.
International passengers that are bumped off would also get a refund and a compensation of P5,000, up from the previous P500.
“If accepted by the passenger, the compensation shall constitute liquidated damages for all damages incurred by the passenger as a result of the carriers’ failure to provide the passenger with confirmed reserved space,” the CAB said.
The new rule also states that before an airline bumps off any passenger due to lack of space, the company would first ask for people to volunteer. Airlines should prioritize the volunteer passengers to be boarded on the next available flight.
According to CAB, in cases where the number of volunteers is insufficient to free up space on a plane, passengers that are inevitably bumped off should be compensated, based on the rates mentioned above.
The new CAB rule also states that passengers that are bumped off should be provided by their airline with refreshments or meals, hotel accommodations if the next flight leaves the next day, transportation to and from the airport, free communications such as phone calls or Internet access, and first aid, if necessary.
Passengers affected by flight delays of more than two hours that are the airline’s fault are also entitled to the said benefits. A passenger that opts out of his or her flight due to protracted delays should be given a full refund, the CAB said.
Airlines’ rights are protected as well under the new rule. The CAB said airlines would be exempted from liability if delays were caused by safety and security reasons, “acts of God,” weather, labor strikes and other causes beyond a company’s control.
Airlines are also absolved if it is the passenger’s fault that he misses his flight.
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