When you fly, you have rights




Ben and his family travelled by air from Malaysia to India for a holiday. On their arrival, Ben found that his family’s luggage did not arrive.

Previously, he might have struggled to figure out how to deal with this issue. But since the establishment of the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), this might be a thing of the past.

Set up last year, Mavcom has introduced a complaint resolution system for consumers to file their complaints should they be not satisfied with resolutions proposed by airlines or airports.

This is covered under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (MACPC) 2016. It is certainly needed as Mavcom’s survey last year found that 69% of respondents were not aware of, or confused about, their rights.

Back to Ben – thankfully, knowing his rights as outlined in the MACPC, he filed a complaint with the airline he travelled with. For baggage delays, Ben knew that he had 21 days to file a complaint.

If Ben’s family’s luggage arrived but was damaged, Ben must file a written complaint with the airline upon arrival in Malaysia, within seven days.

Sometimes a passenger can be denied boarding a flight due to overbooking done by the airline or other operational issues. Photo: The Star

According to the MACPC, consumers are eligible to receive claims for losses of up to SDR* 1,131 (approximately RM6,200) for lost, delayed or damaged baggage. Thus, it is advisable for consumers to take a picture of the contents of their luggage as well as to keep the receipts of the items placed in the bag to substantiate their claims.

(*SDR or Special Drawing Right: The value is based on five major currencies – the US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Pound Sterling and Chinese renminbi – all of which fluctuate against the Ringgit from time to time.)

* Flight delays and cancellations
Flight delays and cancellations are two of the most common scenarios experienced by travellers.

Delays can be caused by various reasons and they can mess up your travel plans. Take, for instance, Sarah who had to catch a flight to Singapore for her sister’s wedding. She arrived at the airport two hours before boarding, when an announcement was made that her flight was delayed for two hours and subsequently for another three hours. What could Sarah do?

Mavcom’s survey identified flight delays and cancellations as being two of the most common scenarios experienced by travellers. Photo: Mavcom

The MACPC notes that, for delays of more than two hours, affected travellers are entitled to meals, telephone calls and Internet access (where available). For delays of five hours or more, travellers are entitled, on top of the above, to hotel accommodation (where necessary) and transportation to and from the hotel.

The care and compensation listed above are also applicable in the case of flight cancellations as well as the choice between reimbursement of air ticket or re-routing.

* Denied boarding
Azhar, on the other hand, found himself being denied from boarding his flight when he arrived at the airport. This can be due to overbooking done by the airline or other operational issues. In this case, the airline is required to offer him meals, telephone calls and Internet access (where available), as well as hotel accommodation (where necessary), transportation to and from the hotel, and the choice between reimbursement of air ticket or re-routing.

By knowing and fully understanding your rights, you will have a better chance to ensure a fair outcome in terms of care and compensation by the airlines or airports.

If the solution provided is not satisfactory or the complaint is not resolved within 30 days, consumers can lodge a complaint with Mav­com and request for assistance.

This is brought to you by Mavcom. To find out more about your rights as an air traveller, visit the Mavcom website at www.mavcom.my.

(STAR2)

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