MANILA — The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) are aiming to improve certain provisions of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights (APBR), including banning the airline practice of overbooking during peak seasons, and capping overbooking during non-peak seasons to 10%.
“While overbooking is an internationally-accepted practice, there should be a limit so as to protect the interests of passengers. We see no reason to allow overbooking of domestic flights during peak seasons because there is a foreseeable surge in the demand for seats, so most flights are full anyway,” said DOTC Spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal.
“The way airlines and the public view passenger rights has been vastly improved since 2012, when we issued the APBR along with the DTI. But we see the opportunity for further improvements. For example, we still see cases of passengers being denied boarding despite having valid tickets – something that should be dealt with more firmly,” he added.
The proposed improvements, which are currently under review and consultation by the CAB, include:
Shortening the period before a delay becomes compensable from 3 hours to 2 hours
Banning overbooking of domestic flights during peak seasons
Limiting overbooking during off-peak seasons to 10%, in accordance with global practice
Fixing a minimum compensation for any passenger who is denied boarding due to overbooking
Tightening up rules on flight delays and cancellations
As explained by CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, these proposed improvements will help compel airlines to reduce flight delays and to adhere faithfully to their approved schedules. In the end, it is for the benefit of passengers.
Arcilla also pointed out that the lack of a minimum compensation in cases where boarding is denied has oftentimes led to a stalemate in negotiations between airlines and their passengers when complaints are filed with his agency.
The DOTC and the CAB are targeting to implement these improvements by the fourth quarter of this year, ideally before the peak periods of the All Saints’ Day weekend and the Christmas season.