Lawmaker calls for urgent passage of bills on air passengers’ rights amid United Airlines controversy

MANILA — An administration lawmaker has urged the leadership of the House of Representatives to prioritize all bills that aim to uphold and protect the rights of air passengers.

Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. made the call on Wednesday in the wake of a recent controversy surrounding United Airlines over its violent removal of a passenger, David Dao, who refused to give up his seat on an overbooked flight.

Dao was forcibly dragged by airline security personnel from the United Express Flight 3411 at the Chicago airport.

“The ill treatment United Airlines gave Dr. Dao is condemnable and must never happen in the Philippines,” Teves said.

There are seven bills on air passengers’ rights currently pending before the House Committee on Transportation.

The government earlier issued an administrative order providing for the bill of rights of air passengers and airline obligations.

Teves, however, cited the need to enact a law to address lingering flight woes such as unabated overbooking incidents, flight delays, cancellations, and damage or loss of baggage.

If the bill is enacted into law, airline companies shall be held responsible and must uphold the rights of passengers as soon as the former enter into a contract to provide the latter safe and convenient flight in exchange of fare and travel fees.

The bill stated that every passenger shall have the right against any act of discrimination or vexation and should be respected at all times by employees and crewmembers of the air company.

Another provision of the bill guarantees the right of passengers against delayed or canceled flights, and the immediate payment of compensation in case of flight delay or cancellation, death or injury and loss or deterioration of baggage and other property. Filane Mikee Cervantes/