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, diversions and route cessations. 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 an airline decides to stop operating a particular destination, the airline must inform consumers at least one month from the cessation date.

If there is a planned flight reschedule of three hours or more before or after the scheduled time of departure, the airline must inform consumers between twelve hours to forty-eight hours from the scheduled time of departure.

Illustration 1

Ali’s flight was scheduled for 6.30am departing to Bangkok, in time for Ali to attend a meeting. Two days before his flight, ABC Airline sent an email to Ali informing him that the flight has been re-scheduled to 3.00pm. This will cause Ali to miss his meeting.

He was given an option to proceed with the new flight timing or obtain a full refund. 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 Thailand 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 according to the new flight schedule proposed by the airline.

Ali may choose to 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.

For consumers whom wish to claim from their insurance company, they may request their airline for a flight cancellation or flight delay confirmation letter. The letter must be issued within seven working days from the date of the request for insurance claims.

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 2

In February, Hani booked a flight to Miami for a vacation in October. Three months before her flight, the airline informed her that they will no longer operate flights to Miami starting from 1 September. The airline provided her with the following options:

1) A full refund of the ticket

2) To travel at an earlier date before 1 September

She was upset as she had already made hotel and tour reservations. What can she do?

Hani has been given sufficient notice of the route cessation. She can either opt for

(i) the full refund; or

(ii) to travel according to the new flight date proposed by the airline.

 

Illustration 3

Muthu planned to attend his cousins wedding in Melbourne. His flight was scheduled for 10.00am. He was at the boarding gate at 9.20am and an announcement was made by the airline that his flight will be delayed due to the late arrival of the aircraft. He was upset as he was not informed of the delay and may miss a pre-wedding function.

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 Muthu 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.

 

Illustration 4

Ali purchased travel insurance and his flight was delayed for two hours. He would like to make a claim with his insurance company and requested ABC Airline for a delay confirmation letter.

The airline is required to provide Ali with the delay confirmation letter within seven working days.

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.