A VIDEO of a Chinese man dragged by police officers from an overbooked United Airlines flight went viral on Monday, April 10, and sparked the public's interest on their rights in case same situation arises.
As the Holy Week starts, a number of people are expected to travel either by land, sea, or air. Overbooked flights and delays are likely to happen.
Based on the joint Department of Transportation and Communications-Department of Trade and Industry Administrative Order 1, or the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, an air passenger has three major rights: (1) Right to be provided with accurate information before purchase, (2) Right to receive the full value of the service purchased, and (3) Right to compensation.
Flight delay is the most common problem encountered and it frustrates air passengers traveling to and from their hometown, especially during holiday or Lenten season.
Here are the rights air passengers are entitled to in case of flight delays:
If the flight is delayed at least three hours after the estimated time of departure, the passenger can avail himself/herself of refreshments or meals, free phone calls, text or emails, and first aid, if necessary.
A passenger can also rebook or refund his/her ticket and be endorsed to another carrier.
If the flight is delayed at least six hours after the estimated time of departure, the passenger can consider the flight cancelled for the purpose of availing the rights and amenities provided for in case of actual cancellation.
Amenities may include food and drinks, hotel accommodations, etc.
The passenger will receive additional compensation equivalent to at least the value of the sector delayed.
The affected passenger can also board the flight if he/she has not opted to rebook and/or refund.
And if the passenger encounters tarmac delay, a delay that occurs while passengers are already on board the aircraft, he/she can avail of sufficient food and beverage.
Some people may not know this, but overbooking in airlines is allowed.
According to Elvin Quiray of the Civil Aeronautics Board, airlines are allowed to overbook by 10 percent to offset possible losses for no-shows.
In case of overbooking, an exception to the general rule under the right to board aircraft for the purpose of flight (under the second major rights of an air passenger), the airline/air carrier must look for volunteers willing to give up their seats.
If the number of volunteers is not enough, the air carrier shall increase the compensation package until the required number of volunteers is met. This is known as the "auction system."
Delayed, lost, or damaged baggage
Another problem when traveling by air is the delayed, lost or damage of the passengers' baggage.
The passenger has the right to be informed of the fact of off-loading.
For every 24 hours of delay, the passenger shall receive P2,000 compensation. And if the baggage was not delivered within 24 hours from the arrival flight, the passenger will be refunded of checked baggage fees.
If the baggage is lost or is it suffered any damage, relevant convention shall apply for international flights while for domestic flights, the passenger has the right to a maximum amount equivalent to half of the amount in the relevant convention (for international flights) in its peso equivalent. (SunStar Philippines)