Previously, Malaysian passengers who travelled by air had no specific protection. Complaints or disputes were channelled to the Consumer Tribunal and various consumer associations.
That changed when the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) was established last March. Finally, there is a mechanism in place to protect aviation consumers – in Malaysia, 89 million passengers flew in and out of airports last year.
They are following the lead of consumer protection laws that have been in place globally, for instance, in Britain, Australia and Ireland. Mavcom has started work and out of 1,428 consumer complaints related to airlines and airports received by them last year, 90% were resolved by the end of last year.
A survey conducted by Mavcom in the middle of last year found that 69% of respondents had misconceptions regarding their rights. The most common issues faced by respondents were flight delays and cancellations, lost baggage and additional charges on their tickets. Timeliness in terms of response by aviation service providers also stood out as an issue and wasn’t up to satisfaction for many.
However, there is a great disconnect between customers being aware of and actually understanding their rights as aviation consumers. In July last year, Mavcom introduced the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC).
Mavcom staff alongside airline, airport and international airline authority representatives at the launch of the MACPC 2016 last July.
Efforts were taken to introduce and promote awareness of the new code. Air travellers in Malaysia are now assured that their rights are clearly defined and protected under national law.
These rights cover dealings with airlines and airports, including foreign airlines operating into and departing out of Malaysia. As such, airlines and airports are now fully responsible and accountable for the quality of their service and responsiveness to consumer protection standards.
One of the key highlights of the code is that airlines and airports are now given 30 days to resolve consumer complaints.
The code provides specific protection for aviation consumers. For instance, consumers are entitled to meals, limited phone calls and Internet access for flight delays of above two hours, or hotel accommodation (where necessary) and transport between the airport and hotel for delays above five hours.
The MACPC encourages consumers to first lodge their complaints with the airline or airport concerned. This gives the respective service provider an opportunity to resolve the complaints, as they would be in the best position to resolve them.
If the complaint is not resolved within 30 days or not to the consumer’s satisfaction, a complaint can be submitted to Mavcom via the Make A Complaint section of the Mavcom website.
This is brought you by Mavcom. To find out more about the MACPC and your aviation rights, visit www.mavcom.my.