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DOJ pushes amendment of airline passenger law

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is calling for amending the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights (APBR) to enhance the protection of passengers and make air carriers more accountable.

In a 27-page report released yesterday, the DOJ’s Office for Competition (OFC) said airline companies should be required to be more transparent in their procedures for cancellation and rebooking of flights.

After consultation with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the OFC said airline companies must be obliged to inform consumers – in a clear and concise manner – which service charges or fees may be refunded in case of rebooking or cancellation.

The APBR, a joint administrative order approved by the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of Trade and Industry in December 2012, provided for the rights of airline passengers and imposed obligations on air carriers.

The DOJ also proposed the adoption and implementation of a customer service plan by the air carriers based on international best practices on handling passenger complaints.

The OFC said among the major issues related to air travel that need to be addressed are lack of transparency, accessibility and clarity in air carriers’ contract conditions; implications of purchasing non-refundable, non-reroutable or non-endorsable tickets which, if unused, are forfeited; prevalence of delayed airline refunds brought about by unclear rules and procedures; and deduction of service fees on amounts refunded.         

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