Passengers’ Protection-A A +A
Check and Balance
Sunday, June 17, 2012
THE Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has reportedly fine-tuned provisions on rebooking and ticket refund among low-cost carriers (LCCs).
The CAB has reviewed the arguments raised by the LCCs in their motions for reconsideration pertaining to the provisions on overbooking contained in Section 3 of the Economic Regulation (ER) 7.
CAB has already regulated provisions on overbooking, which means that commercial passenger airlines are no longer allowed to overbook.
“These are not revisions but a refinement based on their motions for reconsideration. CAB orders number 28 and 29 explicitly state that these are the guidelines until further notice, which means that they can be subject to further study or clarification,” CAB secretary Eldric Paul Peredo said.
Airline operators, however, reasoned out that the practice of overbooking is beneficial to travelers because as capacity increases, they spread cost across more seats that would allow them to go on low-fare sales. More passengers will result to lower fares.
Contrary to popular belief, the airlines said overbooking does not mainly benefit the airlines but the travelling public as well because they can offer low fares every now and then. Will this end the era of super low fares that gained popularity and allowed every Juan Dela Cruz to fly?
In view of this, CAB will allow airlines to overbook to a maximum of 5 percent. “There used to be no rules except that the industry standard is 10 percent. This time, we will closely monitor them,” added Peredo.
CAB is wary that overbooking may result to the offloading of some passengers although in most cases the Bureau of Immigration is the one effecting the offloading of unsuspecting passengers with questionable documents.
Overbooking is a worldwide airline practice recognized by the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, CAB has also suspended the non-refundable and non-rebookable conditions of low-cost fares for domestic flights under Resolution 29.
This is specifically a good news to Filipino travelers particularly those who were offloaded because they can now rebook their tickets.
CAB urges airlines to rebook and refund all fares, including low-cost fares for the benefit of the travelers. If rebooking is too close to the flight, like within 24 hours, there will be additional fees for the passenger. If the airline initiated to rebook the passenger, then the passenger is not obliged to pay anything extra. Promo fares were totally non-rebookable and non-refundable.
The travelling public will soon have the protection under the comprehensive air passenger bill of rights in view of the increasing complaints against air transport. The amended ER 7 (“Boarding Priority and Compensation for Denied Boarding, Delayed and Cancelled Flights”), which took effect on June 5, increased compensation for passengers who have been offloaded or experienced delay or cancellation of flights.
The DOTC will lock horns with the Bureau of Immigration on this matter.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 18, 2012.