Slowly but surely, Indonesia is moving towards a system in which passengers flying on Indonesian aircraft will be paid compensation whenever their flights are delayed due to operational inefficiencies.
This was made evident recently when a passenger on Wings Air, David Tobing, successfully won a legal action in connection with a delayed flight he experienced in August 2007. In a symbolic but landmark case, the Jakarta Courts ordered PT Lion Mentari Airlines - the owners of Lion Air and Wings Air, to pay Tobing Rp. 718,500 (US$78) because of a delayed flight.
As reported by Bisnis Indonesia, David, who was holding a round-trip ticket on Wing Airs from Jakarta to Surabaya, encountered a 90 minute delay in his flight. Frustrated, Tobing bought a new ticket on Garuda and sought a refund of his unused Wings Air ticket, a request that was refused by the Airline. Undeterred, Tobing sought satisfaction in the Jakarta courts where the judge rejected the Airline's standard "no refund" clause.
The Court's decision reflects a wider desire by the Government to provide more protection to consumers flying on Indonesian airlines. To this end, the Department of Transportation is now rewriting regulations that will provide differing levels of compensation to passengers, depending on how late their departure varies from the official schedule.
Airlines will be exempt from paying compensation if delays are caused by "external" factors. such a weather or air traffic control issues. If, however, the delay is caused by "internal" factors deemed to be within the airline's control then compensation must be paid.
Indonesia's Minister of Transportation is known to strongly support a compensation scheme within his program of improving safety and security for Indonesian air travelers.
The exact date for the introduction of the new compensation rules is yet to be announced.
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