Take a stand, Avi­a­tion Com­mis­sion

The Star Malaysia - - Views -

I RE­FER to the let­ter “Cham­pi­oning the rights of air trav­ellers” (The Star, Oct 11).

As a fre­quent trav­eller, I could not agree more with the writer. The is­sue that sticks out like a sore thumb is when checked-in lug­gage does not ar­rive. . More of­ten that not, the trav­eller is told his bag will be traced and once tracked, it will come on the next avail­able flight and be sent to his ho­tel. Some air­lines don’t tell him he is en­ti­tled to an al­lowance to buy per­sonal ef­fects. Many also do not know they are en­ti­tled to the al­lowance.

If I am not mis­taken, it is US$100 (RM422) as I was once given by an air­line when my lug­gage did not ar­rive on the flight from Sin­ga­poreBangkok. It was of­fered to me equiv­a­lent to the lo­cal cur­rency af­ter re­ject­ing my re­quest and ini­tially of­fer­ing me US$35 (RM148).

It is com­mon in most air­ports in the re­gion that no ef­fort is made to make an­nounce­ments for de­lays of up to 30 min­utes.

In cur­rent times, trav­ellers should not hope for any meals for de­lays of up to two hours. If a meal is of­fered it shows that it is a car­ing air­line.

On an­other mat­ter, it should be made manda­tory for air­lines to re­fund the pas­sen­ger ser­vice charge (PSC) for those who do not show up for their flight. The PSC is not part of the fare.

In June 2016, I did not show up for two flights at two for­eign air­ports, in­clud­ing one flight to Kuala Lumpur on a lo­cal car­rier, due to a change in my as­sign­ment date and time.

On re­turn­ing to KL, I asked the car­rier con­cerned for the PSC re­fund but was re­fused. I was told that I was not en­ti­tled to one. I asked the car­rier whether it had the right to for­feit the PSC but I did not get a re­ply.

Out of cu­rios­ity, I wrote to the Malaysian Avi­a­tion Com­mis­sion (MAV) on July 19, 2016. Af­ter wait­ing for about six weeks, I re­ceived a re­ply say­ing that the agency was work­ing on other is­sues. That is far as the mat­ter went.

Is the air­line en­ti­tled to keep the PSC ? The per­cent­age of those who do not show up for their flight is neg­li­gi­ble but it is the prin­ci­ple that mat­ters.

The PSC and se­cu­rity tax for the Kuala Lumpur-Lon­don-Kuala Lumpur ticket is about RM700, de­pend­ing on the ex­change rate of the pound ster­ling.

As a reg­u­la­tory body, MAV should make a stand on this as one of its ob­jec­tives when it was set up last year was to pro­vide a mech­a­nism for pro­tect­ing con­sumers. In 2007, the then Trans­port Min­is­ter said air­lines should re­fund in full the PSC and check-in lug­gage charges, if any, to those who do not show up for their flight. This was never im­ple­mented nor en­forced.


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