For the Vietnamese, New Year Festival (Tet) is the moment of family reunion. Therefore, many passengers who want to save time have chosen the plane as a means of going home. However, there are many cases in which flights are late, delayed, or even canceled.
On February 8th, 2013, with 5 times of delay, Mr. Tran Thanh Nhan (32 years old, Ho Chi Minh City) finally reached home. The flight departure time was 2:25 p.m. Nevertheless, after finishing procedures, he heard that his flight would be delayed until 6:40 p.m. And so the delayed category continued 5 consecutive times until 0:30 at which he was on the plane. Finally, his terrible journey ended when he reached Da Nang airport at 2:30 a.m.
When having to wait for so long at the airport, passengers suffer from both physical and mental damage. So, the matter is that in the event of delay, prolonged or canceled flights, are passengers compensated? All matters relating to compensation for delay or cancellation of flights will be addressed in detail below:
#1 In case of delayed, prolonged, or canceled flights, will passengers be compensated?
Answer: Yes. According to Clause 1, Article 4 of Circular No. 14/2015/TT-BGTVT, passengers with tickets and confirmed seats shall be entitled to non-refundable fixed compensation with the rates prescribed in this Circular in case flights are delayed, prolonged or canceled, except in the case of exemption from liability.
#2 In which cases of delayed flights are passengers compensated? In which cases of delayed flights are passengers not compensated?
Answer: Passengers will not be entitled to compensations in the following cases:
- Carriers deny boarding in the following cases: the health problem of the passenger may cause damage to such passenger, other passengers or the flight; the passenger is denied boarding to prevent epidemic diseases; the passenger fails to conform to regulations on aviation safety, aviation security, aviation transport, or penalties for administrative violations against civil aviation; the passenger violates public order, endangers flight safety or creates negative effects on lives, health and assets of other people; the passenger is denied boarding due to security reasons notified by a competent agency, etc.
- When flights are canceled or delayed because: weather condition causes negative effects on flight safety; security risks cause negative effects on flight safety; the flight is cancelled or long delayed according to the decision of a competent agency; scheduled airplanes are sabotaged or fleets of airplanes are sabotaged; the flight is not operated due to armed conflicts, political instability or strikes, etc.
- Other cases:
+ The carrier has provided the passenger with notice of flight cancellation or long delay of flight in speech or by messages or emails in accordance with the law.
+ The passenger does not register contact information as prescribed.
+ The passenger voluntarily cancels the confirmed reservation.
+ The passenger travels on a free ticket or discounted ticket applied to Industry Discount Ticket or Agent Discount.
+ The passenger doesn’t arrive for check-in at the airport or another place agreed with the carrier.
Apart from the above cases, in all cases in which carriers deny boarding or cancel or delay flights, passengers shall be entitled to compensation. (Article 5,6,7 of Circular 14/2015/TT-BGTVT)
#3 What are the compensation levels when the flight is delayed, prolonged or canceled?
Answer: The compensation levels under Article 8 of Circular 14/2015/TT-BGTVT are as follows: For domestic flights:
- A flight of less than 500 km: VND 200,000.
- A flight of greater than 500 km but less than 1,000 km in distance: VND 300,000.
- A flight of greater than 1,000 km in distance: VND 400,000.
For international flights:
- A flight of less than 1,000 km in distance: 25 USD.
- A flight of greater than 1,000 km but less than 2,500 km in distance: 50 USD.
- A flight of greater than 2,500 km but less than 5,000 km in distance: 80 USD.
- A flight of greater than 5,000 km: 150 USD.
In addition, carriers may stipulate non-refundable fixed compensation levels. However, they must not be lower than the above rates.
#4 What are the Procedures & Dossiers for compensation for delayed and canceled flights?
Answer: The carrier compensates the passenger by the following methods: cash or bank transfer within 14 working days from the date on which the request of the passenger is received, free tickets, reimbursement vouchers. The law does not provide for compensation dossiers. It only regulates methods of compensation for each specific case as follows:
- If a passenger is denied boarding due to faults of the carrier, the carrier is obligated to provide the passenger with the compensation payment: at the airport where the passenger is denied boarding; at the branch or the representative office appointed by the carrier according to agreement with the passenger if that passenger follows procedures at a place other the airport; into the account provided by the passenger.
- For flight cancellation, the carrier is obligated to provide the passenger with compensation payment: at the airport where their flight is cancelled; at the branch or the representative office of the carrier at the request of the passenger or appointed by the carrier within 14 working days from the date on which the flight is cancelled; into the account provided by the passenger.
- For long delays of flights, the carrier is obligated to provide the passenger with compensation payment: at the airport where their flight takes off or lands; at the branch or the representative office of the carrier at the request of the passenger or appointed by the carrier; into the account provided by the passenger.
These compensation payment methods are specified in Article 9 of Circular 14/2015/TT-BGTVT
#5 Which authority handles this issue? What is the duration for handling this issue?
Answer: The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam shall be responsible for inspecting and dealing with fulfillment of obligations of the carrier regarding passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations or long delays of flights as prescribed in Circular 14/2015/TT-BGTVT. Upon receipt of the passenger’s complaint and the carrier’s plan of settlement, the Civil Aviation Authority shall consider and settle the issue as soon as possible in order to ensure the rights and interests of the parties.
#6 If the carrier does not compensate, how do passengers complain?
Answer: According to Clause 3, Article 10 of Circular No. 14/2015/TT-BGTVT, in case the passenger fails to receive any compensation payment or the compensation level is not offered in accordance with this Circular, the passenger shall send a request to the carrier within 90 days from the scheduled departure time of the flight. Within 7 days from the date on which the request is received, the carrier is obligated to send response to the compensation payment as prescribed in this Circular.
#7 How long is the flight delayed when the passenger is compensated? What are the compensation levels for the passenger?
Answer: According to the law, there will be a certain level of compensation for each level of flight delay. Or airlines can set the compensation levels which must not be lower than the levels prescribed by law. According to Article 8 of Circular 81/2014/TT-BGTVT:
- The airline shall arrange another itinerary for the passenger if the delay lasts 02 hours or more.
- If the delay lasts 04 hours or more, the passenger shall be entitled to non-refundable fixed compensation as stipulated in Circular 14/2015/TT-BGTVT.
- If the delay lasts 05 hours or more, the passenger shall be refunded part or whole of the ticket fares upon request of the passenger.
#8 What are the penalties for airlines for late, prolonged or canceled flights?
Answer: If the airline fails to perform or performs inadequate obligations in case of delayed or canceled flights or denial of boarding, it shall be subject to a fine of between VND 10,000,000 and VND 20,000,000 as stipulated by Point a, Clause 4, Article 22 of Decree No. 147/2013/ND-CP. Furthermore, the Ministry of Transport has recently issued a decision to punish airlines that delay, cancel flights, and deny boarding without informing passengers.
Phan Law Vietnam