• Air passengers’ Bill of Rights pushed


    A party-list lawmaker on Monday called on incoming House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to fast-track the passage of the Magna Carta of Airline Passengers Bill of Rights.

    In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the bill will serve as “deterrent against abuses of irresponsible airline companies.”

    “It is the first proposed law that clearly sides with passengers. The bill also seeks to remedy the abuse of airline companies of passengers who suffer delay [in]and cancellation [of flights],” Zarate explained.

    He made the call on complaint of Cebu Pacific passengers who decried the “inconsiderate attention and uncaring treatment” they received from the airline’s employees and officials when they were stranded for three days in Mumbai, India, because of plane repairs.

    In early April, more than 80 Cebu Pacific flights were affected by the nearly six-hour power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

    On December 24 to 25 two years ago, 347 flights of the same airline company were affected, leaving passengers stranded.

    “During the recently concluded 16th Congress, that bill already passed the plenary, but, apparently, the lobby of some powerful interest groups succeeded as it was sent back to the committee level,” Zarate said.

    “It has penalties against delays whether committed by the airlines or government agencies. These penalties are to ensure that airline companies will shape up and make better their services,” he added.

    Under the bill, a two-hour delay will require airlines to provide refreshments, free phone calls, text or Internet service.

    A four-hour delay will be deemed as a canceled flight, which will require free hotel accommodations for passengers, including food and transportation from the hotel to the airport.

    Affected passengers could reimburse their fare in five days, be endorsed in another carrier or rebook the ticket without additional charge.

    Zarate said airlines will be required to reimburse 75 percent of the fare as long as the passenger cancels the flight at least 24 hours before departure.

    He added that 20 percent discount on airfares for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and students will be provided under the proposed bill.


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