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Bumped off? Airlines now have to pay you more

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Bumped off? Airlines now have to pay you more

Photo by INQUIRER.net’s Don Lejano

Airline passengers bumped off flights due to the practice of overbooking by carriers will now receive higher compensation for their trouble, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has ordered.

Amid increasing passenger complaints about budget carriers bumping off passengers arbitrarily, the CAB on Monday published Economic Regulation No. 7 defining the rights of ticket holders.

The main provision covers an increase in compensation for passengers who, through no fault of their own, are denied boarding a flight.

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“Carriers shall pay passengers holding confirmed reserved space—who had presented themselves for carriage at the proper time and place and fully complied with the carrier’s check-in and reconfirmation procedures—but who had been denied boarding for lack of space,” the new rule says.

Passengers on domestic flights will be entitled to a full refund of their ticket plus compensation of P3,000, up from the previous compensation rate of P150 that was set in the 1970s.

International passengers that are bumped off would also get a refund and 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 can bump off a passenger due to lack of space, the company should first ask for volunteers to give up their seats. Airlines should give those who volunteer priority boarding on the next available flight.

The CAB said that in cases where the number of volunteers is not enough, passengers who would still be bumped off should be compensated based on the above rates.

The new CAB rule also says that passengers who are bumped off should be provided with refreshments or meals and hotel accommodations if the next flight leaves the next day, as well as 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 an airline’s fault are also entitled to the same benefits. A passenger that opts out of his or her flight due to protracted delays should be given a full refund, the CAB said.

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The airlines’ rights are protected by the new rule as well.

The CAB said airlines would be exempt from liability if trip delays are caused by safety and security reasons, “acts of God,” weather, labor strikes and other reasons beyond a company’s control.

The airlines are also absolved if it is the passenger’s fault that he missed his flight.

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TAGS: Air Transport, Aviation, Civil Aeronautics Board, Consumer issues
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