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DOTC starts hearing on Bill of Rights for airline passengers

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The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has started conducting a series of public hearings to draft a bill of rights for airline passengers.

Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said the public hearing is important as it aimed at getting the consensus of everyone and be transparent of the process.

One of the issues deliberated in the hearing is the process of bumping off passengers due to airlines’ practice of overbooking flights.

Roxas said there should be a system of bidding where if there is a need to bump off passengers because of overbooking. The airline companies will start offering incentives, which gradually increase until they get enough number of passengers that will accept it and opt to back out and take the next flight.

Roxas added that pending the release of the comprehensive air passenger bill of rights, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) regulations will still be in effect.

The CAB had issued Economic Regulation (ER) No. 7, which provides better compensation for bumped off passengers and victims of delayed and cancelled flights. It also issued other resolutions that suspend airlines’ option to overbook flights as a revenue management practice and the conditions on non-refundability and non-rebookability.

The resolutions, however, together with the newly amended CAB ER No. 7, were merely interim measures undertaken by the DOTC and CAB to address the prevalent complaints in airports.

Several airline companies have asked the CAB for reconsideration to set aside the resolutions.

The CAB denied their motions but deferred the effectivity of the earlier resolutions on overbooking, non-rebookability, and non-refundability on June 13, 2012.

A clearer policy on overbooking, non-rebookability, and non-refundability will be decided jointly by the DOTC and DTI after the public hearings and the approval of the bill of rights for air passengers.

At the public hearings, the DOTC and DTI will consider the interest of airline passengers and that of the airline companies’ especially in light of the growing local and international tourism industry.

A copy of the draft passenger bill of rights will be provided to various consumer groups, airline companies, and the Congress for review before the final document is finalized within a month.




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