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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

New compensation regulations for flight delays and cancellations

By Thai Huy

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HCMC – The Ministry of Transport has issued a new circular on air transport to protect the rights of passengers in the event of flight delays, cancellations and long delays.

The newly-issued Circular 19/223, which revises, supplements and waives certain articles of relevant circulars on air transport, will come into effect on September 1, 2023.

According to the new circular, airlines are required to keep passengers informed about flight delays and provide them with necessary services, including meals, drinks, accommodation and transportation, and cover other expenses incurred at airports during the delays.

For delays of two hours or more, airlines must reschedule flights or arrange alternative flights for passengers to their final destinations without any restrictions on changing routes or flights, and without charging additional fees.

Passengers experiencing delays of five hours or more have the right to request a flight refund. Airlines must provide full reimbursement or refund the unused portion of the flight ticket at designated locations, such as airports, representative offices, branches, or ticket agents.

In cases of long delays, passengers with confirmed and ticketed seats will receive non-refundable advance compensation in accordance with applicable regulations.

For flight cancellations, airlines must inform passengers through the Central Reservation System at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

In addition to fulfilling obligations similar to those for flight delays, airlines must provide non-refundable advance compensation for passengers with confirmed and ticketed seats in the event of flight cancellations. They must also offer rescheduling options or alternative flights to passengers’ final destinations without imposing any restrictions or extra charges.

If passengers refuse the above options, airlines must provide a full refund or refund the unused portion of the flight ticket. Alternatively, the airline may arrange an alternate solution in accordance with passenger preferences.

Airlines are also required to fulfill similar obligations for passengers in the event of flights departing earlier than scheduled, subject to certain conditions.

Furthermore, tickets will be refunded without any restrictions or fees in specific cases.

The reimbursement amount will be equal to the full payment made by passengers for their tickets and will not be less than the difference between the payment made by passengers and the portion of the ticket that has been used.

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