PAL, Cebu Pacific appeal plan on bumped-off passenger payment

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Apr 12 2012 07:15 AM | Updated as of Apr 12 2012 03:16 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Flag carriers Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific said their compensation package is more than enough to appease bumped-off passengers as such there is no need for aviation officials to increase payment for denied booking.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) plans to raise to P5,000 from the current P150 the fee that airlines extend to bumped-off passengers with scheduled domestic flights.

Existing rule also require all airlines to shell out P300 compensation for denied boarding. The CAB wants this raise to P10,000 per passenger with scheduled international flights.

PAL President Jaime Bautista, in a text message, said the flag carrier offers cash plus free ticket in exchange for the inconvenience experienced by the passenger.

Under PAL’s policy, if a passenger is bumped off, he or she will be booked on next available flight and on top of that will be issued a trip pass convertible to a ticket good for usage within one year. Second, if PAL will call for a volunteer who is willing to give up a seat for the bumped-off passenger the volunteer will take next available flight and will also be given trip pass good for travel within a year.

The third option includes cash equivalent to twice the air fare for passengers with scheduled domestic flight or $300 worth of miscellaneous charge order which is convertible to cash.

“As such, cab proposals calling for additional compensation need to be studied thoroughly and be subjected to public consultations,” said PAL spokesman CieloVillaluna.

Cebu Pacific Vice President for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog said the budget airline’s package is “fair and above current regulation.”

“We are open to further discussions with the CAB and we believe that there is a need to strike a balance between consumer welfare and industry growth.  We should also look at Asean aviation regulation best practices, particularly Singapore and Malaysia which are both fast growing aviation markets,” said Iyog in a text message.

Aside from shelling out cash, Cebu Pacific is responsible for rebooking the bumped-off passenger on the next available flight. It also offer hotel and meals if an overnight stay is necessary. “We also give roundtrip travel voucher,” added Iyog.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said the proposed adjustment is one of the many new guidelines that the board is contemplating on amending. “This is one of the many guidelines that we are revising. The guidelines should fit the present time,” he added.

The CAB is targeting to release by June this year an updated and modernized passenger-protection guidelines that promise better service to travelers.

“We have been working on this since fourth quarter of 2011 and we will have it ready by June this year. We just need to conduct consultations,” said Arcilla, who added that there is a need to update the guidelines because the existing set is more than four decades old.