I was a passenger in a domestic flight here in the Philippines. To my horror, the airline made me wait for hours before we could board the plane. According to the airline staff, there was plane maintenance. I only learned of the cause for the delay after insistent queries and after I asked for their manager. I’m a frequent flyer and given that I usually fly at peak seasons, I always experience the same problem. I’d like to know, do I have any right as a passenger in case there is a flight delay? Thank you.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a Joint Administrative Order No. 01, Series of 2012 containing the Bill of Rights of Air Passengers and Carrier Obligations. Section 12 discusses the right of a passenger in case there is a flight delay.
The rights and amenities you are entitled to vary depending on the number of hours that your flight was delayed. According to the said Bill of Rights, there are two types of delay: terminal and tarmac. “Terminal Delay” is a delay that occurs while passengers are still inside the terminal waiting for boarding, while “Tarmac Delay” is delay that occurs while the passengers are already on board the aircraft (Sec. 2.8). In your case, it is apparent that you suffered “Terminal Delay”.
Sec. 12.1 states that in case there is a terminal delay of at least three hours after the Estimated Time of Departure (ETD), whether or not the delay is the fault of the carrier, the passenger has the right to:
(a) Be provided with refreshments or meals (sufficient snacks, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as the case may be), free phone calls, text or e-mails, and first aid, if necessary; and
(b) Rebook or refund his/her ticket or be endorsed to another carrier, in accordance with the Section on cancellation of flight due to the fault of the carrier.
In case the terminal delay extends to at least six hours after the ETD for causes attributable to the carrier, the flight will be considered cancelled for the purpose of making available rights and amenities of passengers whose flights were actually cancelled in Sec. 11 of the Administrative Order.
Sec. 11.1 on rights of passenger in case flight cancellation is attributable to the carrier, states that if the passenger is already at the airport at the time of the announcement of the cancellation, he/she has a right to sufficient refreshments or meals, hotel accommodation, transportation from the airport to the hotel and vice versa, free phone calls, text, or e-mails and first aid, if necessary. If the passenger decides not to fly the ticket or all the routes/sectors, he/she has a right to reimbursement of the fare, including taxes and surcharges, or be endorsed to another air carrier without paying any fare difference, or be allowed to rebook the ticket without additional charge to the next flight with available space or within 30 days to a future trip within the period of validity of the ticket.
In addition, Sec. 12.2 states that the passenger who experiences terminal delay of at least six hours shall be given additional compensation equivalent to at least the value of the sector delayed or deemed cancelled. If the passenger chooses not to rebook and/or refund, he/she has the right to board the flight if it takes place more than six hours after the ETD. The air carrier must exert all efforts to contact the passenger for the flight.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org