Friday, August 15, 2008

CAAC unveils temporary compensation package

Passengers can get free meals and accommodation and transfers if their flights are delayed during the Olympics and Paralympics, according to yesterday's Beijing Times.

The special measures were adopted by the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Wednesday after recent thunderstorms delayed a number of flights and left passengers stranded at airports.

The CAAC did not specify which airport had experienced serious delays, but an industry insider said that typhoons that hit coastal cities in southern China in the past week had grounded flights at local airports and slightly affected airports including Beijing.

In its notice, the CAAC ordered all airlines to help affected passengers transfer flights, even if their tickets may not allow this. Tickets such as those bought at a discount often prohibit passengers from transferring to flights run by other airlines.

Airlines are also required to provide free meals and accommodations to passengers, no matter what has caused the delay.

However, an unnamed CAAC official pointed out that the measures will only last for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics.

"This is good news, and I hope airlines can enforce it, and retain the service after the Games," said Ma Hui, who suffered a six-hour delay due to thunderstorms when traveling from Jiangsu to Beijing last summer.

Industry insiders said airlines normally do not provide such compensation if the delay was due to bad weather or other factors beyond their control.

Although airlines may help arrange hotel accommodation in the event of an overnight delay, the stranded passengers are expected to fork out for their stay.

In the notice, the CAAC also required airports and airlines to keep passengers informed about flight delays using phone calls, text messages and radio broadcasts.

Source: China Daily

No comments: