Default Thumbnail

Solons urge airlines to improve services

June 21, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 276 views

SENATOR Grace Poe called for a tougher policy on air passengers rights to address the cancellations and delays in flights by local airlines besetting travellers.

“This pressing public service issue calls for urgent effective solutions as it involves not only the air passengers’ rights, but also the overall impact on the country’s tourism and economy,” Poe said on Tuesday’s Senate hearing on complaints about airlines’ cancellation of flights.

“Price and value are two different things. Dapat maayos ang serbisyo kahit sa seat sale nabili ang ticket,” Poe added.

While overbooking is a globally accepted practice, Poe said “systematic delays and cancellations are not.”

Poe noted that complaints of cancellations have also increased against Philippine Airlines, which were aggravated by the confusion due to the terminal reassignments.

She asked the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to determine if airlines are going over the 5 percent allowable overbooking.

“Sa dami ng reklamo, mainam na tanungin ang CAB kung may breach na ba sa threshold na ito at kung ano ang penalty na pinapataw nila para dito,” Poe said.

The senator lamented the lack of crisis management personnel from the airlines who are supposed to handle complaints.

“Dagdag pasakit din ang masalimuot na rebooking at refund process, at kawalan ng rightful compensation. ‘Di rin nakakatulong ang mahirap na pakikipag-usap sa chat bots sa halip na customer service representatives at help desks tuwing may aberya,” she said.

She said cancelled flights impact on the rights of air passengers and are not solved merely by rebooking or refunding.

“A cancelled flight could mean opportunity loss – a missed workday, botched business deal, school exam, important family occasion, or even a chance to say goodbye to a loved one. Time waits for no one,” Poe said.

For her part, Senator Risa Hontiveros said it is very stressful and disappointing to those passengers who experienced delays considering that most of these peoples are trying to make the most out of their time and opportunity.

“Nang magsulputan na ulit ang mga inaabangang promo fares, ang nasa isip ng mga tao, yung kanilang experience sa travel destination. Pero lately, sa sunud-sunod na aberya, na sumasakto pa sa mga long weekend, imbis na marelax at makapag-enjoy ng bakasyon ay stress pala ang aabutin.” Hontiveros said.

According to Hontiveros, this kind of experience is giving our tourism industry a bad image and must be resolve properly by proper authorities

“These kinds of inconveniences disrupt the travel experiences also of tourists, and as the chair said, could negatively affect the tourism sector. Paano pa natin ipagmamalaking top tourist destination ang bansa kung puro stress at aberya ang pwedeng sumalubong pati sa mga turista?”she said.

She insisted the need for the proper authorities to act accordingly to avoid similar incident in the future.

“Umaasa po ako na sa pagdinig na ito, hindi lang airlines ang dapat managot. The regulators — Civil Aeronautics Board and the Department of Transportation — the agencies mandated to supervise, control and regulate these air carriers should also be held accountable. Kasama ng chair, at ng aking mga kasama, hindi ako papayag na isama sa kultura natin ang canceled, rescheduled, at delayed flights.” Hontiveros stressed.