PHL aviation policy protects passengers from violent offloading

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  • The Philippines has regulations in place to prevent incidents similar to what happened on a United Airlines flight involving the forced removal of a passenger, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said.

    CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said in a text message yesterday that the country has existing regulations regarding overbooked flights that caused the violent ejection of a passenger.

    The United Airlines flight from Chicago was headed to Louisville in Kentucky.

    Under Section 10 of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, a passenger checked in for a particular flight has the right to board the aircraft for the purpose of flight, except when there is legal or other valid cause such as immigration issues, safety and security, health concerns, non-appearance at the boarding gate at the appointed boarding time or government requisition of space.

    Other than any of the above-mentioned causes, the regulations provide that “no passenger may be denied boarding without his or her consent.”

    Arcilla said that while it is an accepted practice for an air carrier to overbook flights, the regulations provide airlines would need to offer perks for affected passengers.

    The Air Passenger Bill of Rights states that any expense, consequence or inconvenience caused to affected passengers must be borne by the carriers.

    As such, the air carrier should be able to determine the number of passengers in excess of the actual seat capacity of the aircraft.

    The air carrier should also announce when the flight is overbooked and look for volunteer passengers willing to give up their seats in exchange for compensation.

    Once there are volunteers, the carrier would need to provide them a list of amenities or offers they could choose from, with priority booking in the next flight or endorsement to another airline as part of the options.

    In case the number of volunteers is not enough to resolve the overbooking, the carrier will need to increase the compensation package or add more amenities or services until the required number is reached.

    Earlier this week, videos taken by passengers of an overbooked United Airlines flight, which went viral, showed a man being forcibly removed from his seat and dragged down the aisle of the aircraft by a security officer. (L. Desiderio, PS)

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