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Association tells airlines to compensate travelers for long delays
Published on: 2010-11-03
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The China Air Transport Association recently called on domestic airlines to provide cash payments to passengers when a flight is delayed for more than eight hours, a proposal that at least one aviation attorney called inadequate.

The association called on domestic airlines in China to pay up to 300 yuan ($45) to passengers when the delay is the fault of the airline, Hubei-based Wuhan Evening News reported. In the event a flight is not delayed for as long as eight hours, airlines were told to provide other compensation in other forms.

Airlines could deduct 200 yuan ($30) from a future ticket if passengers were held up for between 4 hours and 8 hours. For delays exceeding 8 hours, passengers could get 300 yuan ($45) compensation in cash or 450 yuan ($67) in air fares reduction.

The report said the association cannot force airlines to follow the suggestion and they are not required to provide any compensation when delays are not the fault of airlines.

Zhang Qihuai, secretary-general of the Aviation Law Committee at the Beijing Lawyers Association, told the Global Times that the standard is vague.

"It is obvious that airlines won't take the standard seriously as it doesn't have any legal validity," said Zhang.

Upon hearing of the proposed compensation idea, some passengers were not pleased. "The money is too low to compensate for the time I wasted at the airport," Li Xiangjun, who works for a Shanghai-based advertising agency, said.

Li spent five hours at Beijing Capital International Airport in March because the plane had mechanical problems.

Passenger complaints rose 141.6 percent in the third quarter of this year and most were related to flight delays, the China Consumers' Association said.

An employee in the operation department at Shenzhen Airlines told the Global Times Tuesday that the compensation policy should be flexible and based on what the passengers demand.

"Normally we only compensate 30 percent of the ticket price if the flight was delayed between four to eight hours, but if the passengers are not satisfied with it or get very angry at us, we may raise the compensation to 100 percent," the worker said.

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