Senator Grace Poe called for a tougher policy on air passengers rights to address the cancellations and delays in flights by local airlines besetting travellers.
“This pressing public service issue calls for urgent effective solutions as it involves not only the air passengers’ rights, but also the overall impact on the country’s tourism and economy,” Poe said on Tuesday’s Senate hearing on complaints about airlines’ cancellation of flights.
“Price and value are two different things. Dapat maayos ang serbisyo kahit sa seat sale nabili ang ticket,” Poe added.
While overbooking is a globally accepted practice, Poe said “systematic delays and cancellations are not.”
Poe noted that complaints of cancellations have also increased against Philippine Airlines, which were aggravated by the confusion due to the terminal reassignments.
She asked the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to determine if airlines are going over the 5 percent allowable overbooking.
“Sa dami ng reklamo, mainam na tanungin ang CAB kung may breach na ba sa threshold na ito at kung ano ang penalty na pinapataw nila para dito,” Poe said.
The senator lamented the lack of crisis management personnel from the airlines who are supposed to handle complaints.
“Dagdag pasakit din ang masalimuot na rebooking at refund process, at kawalan ng rightful compensation. ‘Di rin nakakatulong ang mahirap na pakikipag-usap sa chat bots sa halip na customer service representatives at help desks tuwing may aberya,” she said.
She said cancelled flights impact on the rights of air passengers and are not solved merely by rebooking or refunding.
“A cancelled flight could mean opportunity loss – a missed workday, botched business deal, school exam, important family occasion, or even a chance to say goodbye to a loved one. Time waits for no one,” Poe said.