MANILA – "Your flight is delayed." This announcement from the airport's PA system can be one of the most frustrating things a passenger faces when traveling.
But what are passengers entitled to when their flight doesn't leave on time?
According to the joint DOTC-DTI Air Passenger Bill of Rights, passengers are entitled to basic rights upon purchase of ticket and upon arrival at the airport.
If a flight is delayed at least three hours after the estimated time of departure, whether or not the cause is attributable to the carrier, passengers are entitled to refreshments or meals, free phone calls, text or e-mails, and first aid.
Passengers also have the right to rebook or refund the ticket, and to be endorsed to another carrier.
If a passenger encounters terminal delay of at least six hours after the estimated time of departure for causes attributable to the carrier, passengers are entitled to additional compensation equivalent to at least the value of the sector delayed.
It is also within the passengers' rights to still board the flight if it takes place more than six hours after the estimated time of departure and the affected passenger has not opted to rebook and/or refund.
Passengers also have the right to consider the flight cancelled for the purpose of availing the rights and amenities provided for in case of actual cancellation.
Another scenario that some unlucky passengers face is tarmac delay, which entails sitting inside the aircraft with seat belts fastened.
If the delay in the tarmac lasts least two hours after the estimated time of departure, passengers are entitled to sufficient food and beverage.
In case a flight is cancelled, however, passengers should be notified beforehand, and be given the option to rebook or reimburse.
Airlines should inform the passengers at least 24 hours before the estimated time of departure if the cause is attributable to the air carrier.
If the cancellation is less than 24 hours before the estimated time of departure attributable to the air carrier, passengers have the right to be notified beforehand of the fact of cancellation, and to amenities which may include food and drinks, and hotel accommodations.
Passengers are also entitled to be reimbursed of the value of the fare, taxes and surcharges, and other optional fees, to be endorsed to another air carrier without paying any fare difference, and to rebook the ticket without additional charge
If the flight cancellation was due to other causes such as force majeure, or safety and security reasons, passengers should be reimbursed of the full value of the fare.
Passengers are also entitled to rights as early as the check-in process.
This includes not being considered late or a no-show and allowed check-in if the passenger is within the air carrier’s cordoned or other designated check-in area at least an hour before the estimated time of departure of within the prescribed time set by the air carrier.
Check-in counters in international airports must be open at least two hours before the estimated time of departure while other airports should open check-in counters at least one hour before the estimated time of departure.
As a general rule, a passenger cannot be denied the right to board the aircraft without his consent. However, there are exceptions in cases of overbooking, and in legal or other valid causes.
Delayed, lost and damaged baggage
In cases of delayed baggage, a passenger has the right to be informed of the fact of off-loading, and compensated P2,000 for every 24-hour delay.
Airlines should also refund checked baggage fees if the baggage was not delivered within 24 hours from arrival of flight.
If the baggage is lost or damaged, the bill of rights state that "relevant convention" applies to international flights while for domestic flights, passenger has a right to a maximum amount equivalent to half of the amount in the relevant convention in peso equivalent.
If the passenger does not receive the baggage after a period of seven days, it is presumed lost.