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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bill of Rights for Nigerian Passengers Embarking on Air travel

Written by: Frank Meke

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In this article the following is discussed about - 
Denied boarding, Boarding priority, Flight delays and Flight cancellations.

1. Denied boarding
An airline may over – book a scheduled flight in anticipation that some passengers may not show up for the flight. In the event of such over – sold flight, the airline shall take the following measures:
·                 Ensure that the smallest practicable number of persons holding the confirmed tickets on that flight are denied boarding involuntarily.
·                 Request for volunteers for denied boarding involuntarily shall be entitled to compensation by the airline thus: At least 25% of the fares or passenger ticket price for all flights within Nigeria. At least 30% of the passenger ticket price for all International routes.

2. Boarding priority
Every airline shall establish priority procedures and criteria for determining which passengers holding confirmed ticket shall be denied boarding on the over – booked flight, if insufficient number of volunteers come forward. Boarding priority factors listed in the Passengers Bill of Rights and Airlines Obligations are:
·                 Passengers on Medical trips
·                 Passengers time of check – in
·                 Passengers with assigned seats prior to boarding
·                 The fair paid by the passenger
·                 A passengers frequent-flying status
·                 A passenger with reduced mobility, including unaccompanied minors
·                 Families [two adults] where at least one child is aged five or under
If denied boarding involuntarily, the operating airline shall immediately compensate the passengers and offer assistance in form of:
·                 Refreshment
·                 A meal
·                 Hotel accommodation
·                 Transport between the airport and place of accommodation [Hotel]
·                 Two telephone calls, SMS or e-mail, free of charge

3. Flight delays
Flight delays are a usual occurrence in air travel. When they occur, they come with inconveniences to passengers. That’s why the new Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority - [NCAA] Bill of rights provides that whenever an airline anticipates a delay of its flight beyond its scheduled time, affected passengers are entitled to the following rights:
Domestic Flight delays
·                 Delay beyond one hour, carrier shall provide refreshment, telephone call, SMS or e-mail.
·                 Delay for two hours and beyond, carrier shall reimburse passengers the full value of their tickets.
·                 Delay between 10pm and 4am, carrier shall provide hotel accommodation, refreshment, meal, two free calls, SMS, e-mail and transport to and from airport.
International Flight delays
When on an international flight, the operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure, the airline shall provide you the following assistance:
·               Delay between two and four hours, you shall be entitled to refreshment and two telephone calls, SMS or e-mail.
·               Delay of hours or more you shall be entitled to a meal, two telephone calls, SMS or e-mail.
·               When the reasonably expected time of departure is at least six hours after the time of departure previously announced, you shall be entitled to hotel accommodation and transportation between the airport and place of accommodation.

4. Flight cancellation
Airlines can cancel flights provided booked passengers are informed, 24 hours before scheduled departure time in the case of domestic flights; seven days before scheduled departure time for international flights. Between three and seven days before scheduled time of departure and is offered re – routing for international flights, or less than seven days before scheduled date of departure and is offered re – routing, allowing him/her to depart not more than one hour before scheduled time of departure and to arrive the final destination not more than two hours after scheduled arrival time.
Where this time frame is not observed, the following rights apply:
·                 25 per cent of passenger ticket price for all domestic flight within Nigeria
·                 30 per cent of passenger ticket price for all international flights.
Also, passengers whose flight were cancelled outside the stipulated time above are entitled in addition to any of the following choices:
·                 Immediate reimbursement in cash for domestic flights and within 14 days for international flights either by cash, electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheque or with the signed agreement, in travel vouchers or other services. Such vouchers shall be redeemable at all sales outlets of the air carrier issuing the vouchers.

·                 All reimbursement shall be at the full cost of ticket at the price at which it was bought for the part or parts of the journey not made and for the part or parts of the journey already made. If the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passengers original travel plan, together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity.

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