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Consumer Rights for Air Passengers

The Transport Ministry has told operators of domestic flights to observe consumer rights or face revocation of their licences in extreme cases. Deputy Transport Minister Vichet Kasemthongsri called a meeting with the airline industry to remind them of the revised ministerial regulations regarding consumers rights. Competition on domestic routes is intensifying as low-cost airlines start up. Under the regulations for operators of domestic flights, cancellation or merger of flights must be approved by the Aviation Department and passengers have to be told at least 24 hours in advance except in emergencies.

In case of flight delays, airlines are held responsible for expenses if passengers want to catch a plane at a nearby airport. Passengers are eligible for full refunds if they do not wish to travel. Food or accommodation must be provided if the flights are delayed for more than three hours. The airlines are held responsible for medical expenses of passengers in case of aircraft accidents. The amounts should be paid in full and within 10 days.

In case of deaths, the victims family is eligible for funeral services of at least 100,000 baht within 10 days. Violators are subject to maximum fines of 20,000 baht and extra daily fines of 1,000 baht if they fail to proceed with the rules. Intentional violations call for suspension or revocation of licences. Chaisak Angsuwan, deputy-general of the Aviation Department, said the rules have been in place for a while but few passengers were aware of them.

Bangkok Post, Thursday, December 18, 2003

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