Passengers to Receive Compensation for Flight Delays

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Chinedu Eze

Nigerian passengers are to be compensated by airlines when flights are delayed. The compensation ranges from providing refreshments to serving meals and refunding the passenger when the flight is cancelled.

THISDAY investigation reveals that while some airlines abide by the Passenger Bill of Rights as enunciated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), some airlines renege, especially when such delays happen at airports outside Lagos and Abuja where the regulatory authority effectively monitor passenger movement.

According to the Passenger Bill of Rights, if a flight will be re-routed or delayed, the passenger must be notified at least two hours in advance.

“If you have a ticket or print-out that shows a confirmed reservation for a specific flight and date, an agent cannot deny you boarding because you have no reservation in the computer. If you need to cancel a ticket purchased under a non-refundable fare, you must be able to apply the fare you paid toward a future flight, minus any applicable charge or cancellation fees. You have a duty to arrive before the time on your ticket. Even if you have already checked in for your flight, an airline can cancel your reservation if you are not at the departure gate on time and you must be compensated if a flight departs before the ticketed time,” explained the Director of Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD), NCAA, Adamu Abdullahi.

Abdullahi noted that if a passenger does not check his baggage in sufficient time for it to be loaded on the flight, the airline would not be responsible for any delay in the delivery of your baggage to the passenger’s destination; however, if the passenger baggage is delayed or lost, he must be compensated within five business days.

“If your flight is delayed for over one hour, cancelled or you are denied boarding, you have a right to compensation. You have a duty to be courteous to staff and agents of airline operators,” he added.
Abdullahi told THISDAY that now passengers know their rights but they do not know their own responsibilities to the airlines and that is why they violently obstruct airlines’ operations when there is any infraction.

Also spokesman of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye told THISDAY that the amount of complaints the agency gets from passengers with the needed documents to back their claims show that Nigerian passengers know their right.

Spokesman of Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa told THISDAY that the airline abides by the Passenger Bill of Rights, but beyond that it goes further to ensure that its passengers are satisfied.

“For us, it is customer first. We give refreshments when there is delay and we assist passengers to reschedule their flights at no extra cost and refund them in full if they do not wish to continue with the flight,” Ezenwa said.