It’s summer once again and everyone is having the time of their lives enjoying this opportunity to travel here, there, and everywhere! This summer, I’m pretty sure many of you will fly to venture to the crystal clear blue waters of Boracay, Phuket Thailand, pristine waters of Sri Lanka and even the Caribbean islands not to mention the US or European tour in order to see the beautiful places of the western side of the world, both monumental, religious and historic ones, reflecting the cultural, political, and social milieu of the amazing scenery with the thought of expecting to shed even for a little while the cobwebs of stress, the hustle and bustle of the city.
I have here some relevant provisions of the DOTC-DTI Joint Administrative Order No. 1, s. 2012 dated December 10, 2012 entitled “Providing for a Bill of Rights for Air Passengers and Carrier Obligations” which I think may be useful in asserting your rights as a passenger and enforcing the obligations arising therefrom whenever you travel by air. Happy reading!!!
RIGHT TO BE PROVIDED WITH ACCURATE INFORMATION BEFORE PURCHASE
1. Right to Full, Fair, and Clear Disclosure of the Service Offered and All the Terms and Conditions of the Contract of Carriage. Every passenger shall, before purchasing any ticket for a contract of carriage by the air carrier or its agents, be entitled to the full, fair, and clear disclosure of all the terms and conditions of the contract of carriage about to be purchased.
a. An air carrier shall cause the disclosure under this Section to be printed on or attached to the passenger ticket and/or boarding pass, or the incorporation of such terms and conditions of carriage by reference.
b. Passengers receive an explanation of key terms identified on the ticket from any location where the carrier’s tickets are sold, including travel agencies.
c. Aside from the printing and/or publication of the above disclosures, the same shall likewise be verbally explained to the passenger by the air carrier and/or its agent/s in English and Filipino, or in a language that is easily understood by the purchaser, placing emphasis on the limitations and/or restrictions attached to the ticket.
d. The key terms of a contract of carriage if done in print, must be in bold letters,
2. Right to Clear and Non-Misleading Advertisements of, and Important Reminders Regarding Fares.
Advertisements of fares shall be clear and not misleading.
a. Major restrictions, such as those on rebookability or refundability, shall be disclosed in full and in such a way that the passenger may fully understand the consequences of purchasing such tickets and the effect of non-use thereof.
b. Every air carrier causing the publication of fare advertisements in any medium, shall likewise disclose the Conditions and restrictions attached to the fare type, Refund and rebooking policies, if any;, Baggage allowance policies;, Government taxes and fuel surcharges, Other mandatory fees and charges, Contact details of the carrier (i.e. phone number, website, e-mail, etc, Other information necessary to apprise the passenger of the conditions and the full/total price of the ticket purchased.
In case of promotional fares, the additional information shall be included: Number of seats offered on a per sector basis; The duration of the promo; and The CAB Approval No. of Fares.
c. Right Against Misleading and Fraudulent Sales Promotion Practices. All sales promotion campaigns and activities of air carriers shall be carried out with honesty, transparency and fairness, and in accordance with the requirements of the Consumer Act of the Philippines, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
RIGHT TO RECEIVE THE FULL VALUE OF THE SERVICE PURCHASED
1. Right to Transportation and Baggage Conveyance. Every passenger is entitled to transportation, baggage conveyance and ancillary services, in accordance with the terms and conditions of contract of carriage with the air carrier.
2. Right to be Processed for Check-In. a passenger holding a confirmed ticket, whether promotional or regular, with complete documentary requirements, and who has complied with the check-in procedures, shall be processed accordingly at the check-in counter within the check-in deadline.
3. Right to Sufficient Processing Time. Passengers shall be given enough time before the published ETD within which to go through the check-in and final security processes. air carriers operating in international airports and in other airports designated by the DOTC shall open their check-in counters in such airports at least two (2) hours before the ETD. In other airports, air carriers shall open their check-in counters at least one (1) hour before the ETD.
4. An air carrier shall designate at least one (1) check-in counter which will prioritize persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens, and persons requiring special assistance or handling. If this is not practicable, the air carrier shall instead provide for priority handling and processing of such passengers.
Persons accompanying a PWD, a senior citizen, or a person requiring special assistance or handling should also be accommodated at the designated check-in counter mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
5. Right to Board Aircraft for the Purpose of Flight. No passenger may be denied boarding without his/her consent except for when there is legal or other valid cause, such as, but not limited to, immigration issues, safety and security, health concerns, non-appearance at the boarding gate at the appointed boarding time, or government requisition of space.
Government agencies and/or officials wanting to acquire aircraft space for official government purposes shall submit a written request justifying the requisition to the CAB, which shall then make the request to the air carrier concerned, detailing:
(a) The number, identities, and affiliation of the persons requesting for space;
(b) The date and time (if applicable) of the flight; and
(c) The destination.
Should government requisition result in passengers having to forego their confirmed space, the air carrier shall look for volunteers, who will be given air carrier compensation or amenities or services.
RIGHT TO COMPENSATION
1. Right to Compensation and Amenities in Case of Cancellation of Flight.
a. In case of flight cancellation attributable to the carrier, a passenger shall have the right to:
i. Be notified beforehand via public announcement, written/published notice and flight status update service (text);
ii. Be provided with sufficient refreshments or meals, hotel accommodation (conveniently accessible from the airport), transportation from the airport to the hotel, v.v. free phone calls, text or e-mails, and first aid, if necessary.
iii. Reimbursement of the value of the fare, including taxes and surcharges, of the sector cancelled, or both/all sectors, in case the passenger decides not to fly the ticket or all the routes/sectors;
iv. Be endorsed to another air carrier without paying any fare difference, at the option of the passenger and provided that space and other circumstances permit such re-accommodation.
v. Rebook the ticket, without additional charge, to the next flight with available space, or, within thirty (30) days, to a future trip within the period of validity of the ticket.
However, in case a carrier cancels a flight at least twenty-four (24) hours before the ETD, it shall not be liable for the foregoing amenities, except, it shall be obliged to notify the passenger, and, in accordance with the preceding provisions, to rebook or reimburse the passenger, at the option of the latter.
b. In case the air carrier cancels the flight because of force majeure, safety and/or security reasons, as certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, a passenger shall have the right to be reimbursed for the full value of the fare.
The above benefits are the minimum entitlement of a passenger in case of cancellation, and shall not prohibit the air carrier from granting more favourable conditions or recourses, as it may deem appropriate.
2. Right to Compensation for Delayed, Lost, and Damaged Baggage. A passenger shall have the right to have his/her baggage carried on the same flight that such passenger takes, subject to considerations of safety, security, or any other legal and valid cause.
a. In case a checked-in baggage has been off-loaded for operational, safety, or security reasons, the air carrier shall inform the passenger at the soonest practicable time and in such manner that the passenger will readily know of the off-loading (i.e. that his/her baggage has been off-loaded and the reason therefor). If the passenger’s baggage has been off-loaded, the air carrier should make the appropriate report and give the passenger a copy thereof, even if it had already announced that the baggage would be on the next flight.
b. The air carrier shall carry the off-loaded baggage in the next flight with available space, and deliver the same to the passenger either personally or at his/her residence. For every twenty-four (24) hours of delay in such delivery, the air carrier shall tender an amount of Two Thousand Pesos (Php2,000.00) to the passenger, as compensation for the inconvenience the latter experienced. A fraction of a day shall be considered as one day for purposes of calculating the compensation.
c. Should such baggage, be lost or suffer any damage attributable to the air carrier, the passenger shall be compensated in the following manner:
i. For international flights, the relevant convention shall apply.
ii. For domestic flights, upon proof, a maximum amount equivalent to half of the amount in the relevant convention (for international flights) in its Peso equivalent.
For compensation purposes, a passenger’s baggage is presumed to have been permanently and totally lost, if within a period of seven (7) days, counted from the time the passenger or consignee should have received the same, the baggage is not delivered to said passenger or consignee.
d. Right to Compensation In Case of Death or Bodily Injury of a Passenger.
i. For international flights, in case of death or bodily injury sustained by a passenger, the relevant Convention and inter-carrier agreement shall apply.
ii. However, for an international carriage performed under the 1966 Montreal Inter-Carrier Agreement, which includes a point in the United States of America as a point of origin, a point of destination or agreed stopping place, the limit of liability for each passenger for death, wounding or other bodily injury shall be the sum of Seventy-Five Thousand United States Dollars (US$75,000.00), inclusive of legal fees and costs. Provided, in the case of a claim brought in a state where a provision is made for a separate award for legal fees and costs, the limit shall be the sum of Fifty-Eight Thousand United States Dollars (US$58,000.00), exclusive of legal fees and costs.
iii. For domestic flights, the compensation shall be based on the stipulated amount in the relevant convention which governs international flights, the same to be given in Peso denominations.
e. Right to Immediate Payment of Compensation. The air carrier shall tender a check for the amount specified, or cash, or the document necessary to claim the compensation or benefits mentioned above.
There you have it my friends, so next time you embark on a journey you are already aware of your rights and the corresponding obligations of the air carriers. It is really exciting and enjoyable to fly safely to anywhere you want as long as you know the law that governs your respective rights and obligations of air carriers. Thus, it is essential that you have a copy of this joint administrative order of Department of Transportation and Communication and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) [Bill of Rights for Air Passengers and Carrier Obligations] wherever you go.
Have a safe happy travel!!
“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.”