In the face of flight delays, cancellations, and blackouts at NAIA and other airports, it pays to know what you’re entitled to.
The power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA 3) last April 2 reminded us once again of the need for preparedness—well, preparedness to fight for your rights as an airline passenger, for one.
If such unfortunate events, on top of flight delays and cancellations, can’t be avoided, then every traveler should know what they’re entitled to and learn to be proactive in asking for proper assistance and accommodation, when necessary.
We’re talking about the Air Passenger Bill of Rights (APBR), a Joint Administrative Order No. 1 of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which took effect on December 21, 2012.
The APBR applies to all flights within the Philippine territory that is operated by Philippine air carriers, and flights from the Philippine territory operated by foreign air carriers.
There are three primary rights in the APBR with sections elaborating the specific guidelines:
1. The right to be provided with accurate information before purchase
– Right to full, fair, and clear disclosure of the service offered and all the terms and conditions of the contract of carriage
– Right to clear and non-misleading advertisements of, and important reminders regarding fares
– Right against misleading and fraudulent sales promotion practices
It is the passenger’s responsibility to be aware of the airline’s rebooking and refund policies. It is stated clearly on the airline website upon booking, along with other terms and conditions.
2. The right to receive the full value of the service purchased
– Right to transportation and baggage conveyance
– Right to be processed for check-in
– Right to sufficient processing time
– Right to board aircraft for the purpose of flight
Airlines should provide services and amenities to its passengers, especially for persons with disability (PWDs), senior citizens, and persons requiring special assistance.
The airline carrier should practice utmost diligence in ensuring that passengers are checked-in for their flights prior to the check-in deadline. You should not be denied check-in, provided that you are already in the check-in area one (1) hour before your time of departure.
By law, international check-in counters should open at least two (2) hours before the estimated time of departure (ETD), and domestic check-in counters should open at least one (1) hour before the ETD.
In the event of overbooking, the airline should inform its passengers and ask for volunteers who are willing to give up their seats. Incentives and amenities for volunteers include priority booking in the next flight with available space.
3. The right to compensation
– Right to compensation and amenities in case of flight delay and exceptions thereto
– Right to compensation for delayed, lost, and damaged baggage
– Right to compensation in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger
– Right to immediate payment of compensation
The passengers of the delayed flight (at least three hours after the time of departure) at the terminal should be provided with free food and beverage. The airlines already provide free internet access, but if the need arises, they should also be able to provide free phone use and first aid.
Your baggage should be delivered an hour after arrival. In the instance of off-loaded baggage, you as the passenger should be informed and provided with incident report. Your baggage should be delivered on the next flight.
Every 24-hour delay in baggage delivery entitles you to receive P2,000 as compensation.
For lost or damaged baggage in domestic flights, the passenger should be paid a maximum amount equivalent to half of the amount in Philippine pesos.
The flight is considered cancelled if the terminal delay extends to at least six hours after the time of departure. The passenger should be compensated to the value of the airline ticket either through cash, check, or voucher, within 15 days from the cancelled flight.
In the event of death or injury, the passenger will be compensated accordingly through international or domestic guidelines. Compensation may also include life or travel insurance package if the passenger availed of the insurance option upon booking.
The airline should provide compensation within 15 days after the incident.
For complaints and further information, you may call the Civil Aeronautics Board hotline (+632) 542-5234 / (+632) 852-8967 or send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orient yourself with the terms and conditions of the airline. You don’t have to read through all of it, because most, if not all, of the important provisions are clearly posted on the airline website when you book your ticket. If you’re booking from a travel agency, you should be informed of the refund, cancellation, and check-in guidelines, at the very least.
You can also add travel insurance to ensure more coverage in an emergency or any type of delay. Normally, travel insurance covers the cost of personal accidents, flight cancellation, loss of baggage, medical expenses, and flight delays or misconnection.
Allot plenty of time to reach the airport and process your check-in. Conveniently, you can avail of online check-in at least two hours before your ETD to avoid long queues, but you still need to deposit your baggage at the check-in counter if it’s more than the allowed carry-on baggage limit of seven kilos. —Kristel Serran