Consumer / Airline and Ticket Pricing / Communication of changes in flight status

Communication of changes in flight status

Flights can change for any number of reasons, including cancellations, delays and diversions. These can be disruptive to your plans, which is why we require airlines to inform you about any changes as soon as they happen. This should be mentioned in the terms and conditions on your ticket.

In fact, airlines operating in Malaysia have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promptly contact you when your flight changes. If you believe sufficient effort was not taken to contact you about a flight change, you should take up the matter with the operating airline (see Airport and airline contacts) before contacting MAVCOM.

Illustration 1

Ali booked a flight to Australia for a vacation. Two weeks before his flight, ABC Airline sent an email to Ali informing him that the flight has been re-scheduled. He was given an option to travel 2 days later or to obtain a full refund. Ali wants to proceed with his vacation but is upset that his payment for the 2 days ground arrangement is now wasted. What can he do?

  • Rescheduling of flights are inevitable in the airline industry for various operational circumstances. An airline is obliged to provide sufficient notice as well as provide the first available alternative flight or a full refund to affected passengers.
  • In this case, the airline’s obligation according to the airline’s contract of carriage is to ensure Ali reaches his destination from Kuala Lumpur to Australia as stated in the ticket.
  • Ali has been given sufficient notice of the flight re-scheduling. He can either opt for
    • (i) the full refund; or
    • (ii) to travel 2 days later according to the new flight schedule proposed by the airline.

If Ali does not want to waste his 2 days ground arrangement, he may opt for option (i) which is a full refund of his flight ticket and purchase a new ticket with an airline of his choice. Ali will not be able to claim for the fare difference between the new ticket and that of ABC Airlines’. Ali has been provided sufficient notice of options to either a full refund or an alternative flight.

Illustration 2

Hani’s flight was scheduled for 6.30am departing to Langkawi. She was at the boarding gate at 6.00am and an announcement was made by the airline that her flight will be delayed due to the late arrival of the aircraft. She was upset as she was not informed of the delay and may miss her meeting at 9.00am.

  • Rescheduling of flights are inevitable in the airline industry for various operational circumstances. An airline is obliged to communicate any change in flight status of at least 30 minutes to passengers as soon as practicable.
  • In this case, as Hani was already at the airport, the airline did make an announcement that the flight will be delayed due to the late arrival of the aircraft.

For more information, please refer to the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC) – Part II, Paragraph 8: Minimum Service Level and Standards of Performance For Airlines and Aerodrome Operators – Communication of Change in Flight Status.