Thailand Low-cost Airlines Instructed on Passenger Rights
Passengers of low-cost airlines operating in Thailand must receive compensation and be provided meals if flights are delayed more than two hours but not exceeding three hours, or provided refunds if passengers do not wish to wait.
Thailand’s permanent secretary for transport, Supoj Saplom, said the Transport Ministry had recently instructed all budget airlines flying Thailand domestic routes to inform passengers about their rights in the event of flight delays.
Mr. Supoj said Ministry regulations require low-cost airlines to provide meals, drinks, and communication services for passengers of flights delayed for more than two hours but not exceeding three hours, and to provide a replacement flight or one to the nearest destination at no additional cost for flights delayed up to five hours.
If the low-cost airline purchases a ticket for a passenger on an alternate carrier and the new ticket costs less than the original, the original carrier must refund the difference.
In addition, for flights delayed of five hours or more each passenger is entitled to compensation of Bt600 (about $US19.76), but he said delays caused by a political situation, weather conditions, or work stoppages are not included.
Further, if a low-cost airline wants to issue refunds in the form of vouchers or other goods, it can only do so if the affected passenger agrees and all Thailand- low-cost airlines must provide disabled passengers with wheelchairs free of charge.
Mr. Supoj also said the regulation follows complaints from passengers about frequent flight delays, unfair ticket prices and extra fees charged by low-cost airlines in Thailand.
According to Mr. Supoj the Civil Aviation Department has been instructed to strictly enforce the regulation tot ensure the rights of passengers are protected.
Mr. Supoj said over the past years some low-cost airlines have collected a lot in additional fees resulting in low-cost airline passengers often paying fares higher than those charged by the national carrier, Thai Airways International.
Mr. Supoj also said that since that Thai AirAsia and Nok Air had increased the size of the fleets the problem of delayed flights has improved, though the ministry wanted to see it improve even more.
The regulations require low-cost airlines in Thailand to provide consumer protection agencies with details of their minimum and maximum fares and display the details on their websites, said Mr Supoj added. (Thailand Travel Online)