Bill of Rights of Air Passengers: What You Should Know

Over the past decade, the airline industry in the Philippines has experienced remarkable growth. Air travel has become more affordable and convenient, significantly increasing domestic and international passenger traffic. If traveling soon, you should first know the Bill of Rights of Air Passengers in the Philippines.

However, due to pandemic restrictions, more people have filed complaints against airlines for delayed or canceled flights, lost luggage, and even passenger injuries and fatalities. To handle such situations, be aware of the country’s minimum protections and air passenger rights.

Bill of Rights of Air Passengers

Traveler at the airport. (Source: Anete Lusina/Unsplash)

The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Transportation and Communication approved the Air Passenger Bill of Rights in 2012. It is also known as the Joint DOTC-DTI Administrative Order No.1 Series of 2012. The main objective of this set of rights is to prevent unfair and abusive airport practices.

The bill explicitly protects air passengers in the Philippines from airport problems such as delayed or canceled flights without prior notice, lost luggage, overbooking of aviation, and other similar issues. This set of rights also covers pre-flight concerns, including misleading fare advertisements.

How Do the Bill of Rights for Air Passengers Rights Help You?

As per the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, a passenger has three critical rights, which are:

  • To receive truthful and precise information before buying the ticket
  • To get the complete worth of the service purchased
  • To claim compensation in case of any inconvenience or issue.

Let’s discuss each one.

Right to Accurate Information

Passengers have the right to receive accurate information regarding their flight purchase. It includes clear and complete disclosure of the terms and conditions, such as check-in requirements, refund and rebooking policies, and procedures in case of delayed or canceled flights. Air carriers should provide these details on their website or through other forms of communication. Additionally, fare advertisements should be transparent and free of misleading information.

Right to Receive the Full Worth of the Purchased Service

Passengers buying airline tickets in the Philippines should know their rights.

  1. Right to Sufficient Processing Time
Passengers preparing for check-in (Souce: Connor Danylenko/Pexels)

Airline passengers should complete the airport procedures, such as check-in and security checks, with ample time before the scheduled departure. For this reason, airlines should take the necessary measures.

  1. Check-in counters should be available for passengers at DOTr-designated and international airports at least two hours before their Estimated Time of Departure (ETD). On the other hand, at other airports, the check-in counters must open at least an hour before the ETD.
  2. To ensure smooth check-in processes, have a designated counter for flights approaching their check-in deadline. It will help passengers to complete their check-in process at least an hour before the scheduled departure time.
  3. Additionally, it is advisable to have a counter that prioritizes senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and those who require special assistance or handling.
  • Right to Check-In

Passengers can check in if they arrive at the airport within the airline’s specified time frame or at least an hour before their scheduled departure time.

  • Right to Boarding
Passengers boarding a plane (Source: Nata Romualdo/Pexels)

It is illegal to deny boarding without the passenger’s consent, except in cases of overbooking or legitimate legal reasons.

If an airline sells tickets more than the actual number of seats available, it is overbooking. This practice compensates for passengers who don’t show up. However, there will be no empty seats if all the passengers arrive.

The airline must search for passengers willing to give up their seats to tackle this situation. But if the number of volunteers is insufficient, the airline follows the “auction system.” The airline company increases overbooking compensation until it finds the required volunteers.

Right to Compensation

Passengers can claim compensation if they encounter problems such as flight delays or cancellations while traveling through an airport. The subsequent examples demonstrate the extent of this entitlement.

  1. Flight Cancellation

If the air carrier cancels a flight 24 hours before the supposed departure time, the passenger must know, and the air carrier must either rebook or reimburse the passenger as per the passenger’s choice. If the cancellation occurs within 24 hours before the ETD, the passenger must know and be endorsed to another air carrier without additional charges.

The passenger should have access to amenities such as food, drinks, accommodations, etc., and can rebook their tickets without any extra fees. However, they receive the value of the airfare, taxes, surcharges, and other optional fees. If the cancellation is due to different reasons, such as force majeure or safety and security, the passenger has the right to receive the fare.

  • Flight Delay and Exceptions
A passenger waits for boarding. (Source:

Suppose the delay at the airport is more than three hours after the scheduled departure time and is not due to airline fault. In that case, the passenger can receive refreshments or meals, free phone calls, texts, emails, and first aid (if required), the option to rebook or refund their ticket, and the right to endorsement to another carrier.

If the delay at the airport is more than six hours and is due to airline fault, the passenger has the right to consider the flight as canceled and receive all the amenities provided in case of actual cancellation. They are also entitled to additional compensation equal to at least the value of the delayed sector. They can board the flight if it takes more than six hours after the scheduled departure time and the passenger has yet to choose to rebook or get a refund.

If the delay on the tarmac is more than two hours after the scheduled departure time, the passenger has the right to sufficient food and beverage.

  • Damaged, Lost, and Delayed Baggage

Passengers who follow the airport luggage rules in the Philippines may still face travel anxiety and costly inconveniences like lost or damaged luggage. However, there are rights entitled to passengers regarding lost baggage.

These include notification of offloaded baggage, compensation of ₱2,000 for every 24 hours of baggage delay, refund of checked baggage fees within 24 hours of the flight arrival, and a maximum amount equivalent to half of the relevant convention in case of damaged or lost luggage. The presumption of loss will apply if the airline doesn’t deliver the baggage after seven days.

  • Bodily Injury or Death of a Passenger

If an individual experiences bodily harm or passes away while on an international flight, the convention and inter-carrier agreements that are in place will be in place. The relevant convention overseeing international flights will determine compensation for bodily harm or death during a domestic flight.

  • Immediate Payment

Air carriers must provide affected passengers with access to the payment. Passengers can retrieve the amount at the air carrier’s counters at the airport on the day of the incident, at the main office, or any other branch if the passenger chooses to do so.

Additionally, the payment must be available in three forms: check, cash, or a document used to claim the compensation. The paper should be able to be exchanged for cash within 15 days of the incident.

Final Thoughts

Flying can be an exciting experience, whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally. However, unforeseeable events can occur during your journey. In addition, airport issues may arise in some cases due to the airline’s actions. Fortunately, understanding the Bill of Rights of Air Passengers in the Philippines can help you easily handle these situations.

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