MANILA — Once passengers have boarded a plane, they cannot be offloaded by the airline, unless for security reasons, according to Atty. Wyrlou Samodio, chief of the legal division of the Civil Aeronautics Board.
Samodio said the Air Passenger Bill of Rights forbids forced offloading, and passengers may file a case against the airline if they are offloaded because the flight is overbooked.
"We discourage overbooking," said Samodio in an interview with radio DZZM.
He explained that if a flight is overbooked, the airline needs to look for a volunteer to give up a slot by giving the passenger compensation. If no one gives up a slot, then the flight will not be allowed to leave, and the airline will incur additional penalties.
"Sa air passenger bill of rights, overbook at your own risk. Kasi kung walang nagbigay (ng slot) hindi ka makakalipad. 'Pag di ka nakalipad, liable ka," Samodio said in an interview with radio DZMM.
Air passenger rights were put on the spotlight after an incident in the US saw a man being dragged out of a United Airlines flight to make room for airline employees.
Samodio said that a similar incident was unlikely to happen in the Philippines because of the country's strict regulations on air passenger rights.
He added that an airline may negotiate with passengers to give up their slots during check-in, or when they are still in the boarding area.
But once passengers have already seated in the plane, they cannot be forced to give up the slot.