Compensate passengers for delayed flights
Following a plan under consideration by major airlines and aviation authorities to be unveiled next month, airlines will be responsible for the compensation, sources from Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines said.
Affected passengers might be provided with such services as free tickets, free board and lodging and upgrading berth classes without charge, said Xu Ji, deputy general manager of Administration Department of the airline.
Free offers of accumulated air trips, and cash compensation will also be implemented, Xu said.
Sources from the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC) said the formal compensation plan will be publicized early next month.
CAAC has been working to resolve the long existing problem in civil aviation sector and urged airlines to consider passengers' rights and interests, said a CAAC official on condition of anonymity.
But he refused to give more details about the plan.
China Eastern Airlines mapped out its Customer Service Plan on Monday in response to CAAC's demand that domestic airlines implement better customer service.
A total of 20 service commitments are part of the plan including berth booking, ticket selling, in-flight services, luggage transport as well as abnormal flights.
If passengers fail to board the plane on time because of oversell flights, they will be compensated in cash, according to Wu Jiuhong, general manager of China Eastern Airlines.
In the meantime, the nation's two other major airlines -- Air China and China Southern Airlines -- are also working out service commitments.
Sources from Air China said their service commitments will be publicized before the end of this week.
In recent years, consumer complaints about aviation services have risen.
Statistics from CAAC's Consumers Business Centre indicated that the proportion of consumer complaints in 2003 increased by 27 per cent from the previous year and the complaints about delayed flights top the list.
Among the complaints, the number of complaints of abnormal flights totalled 159, or 42.4 per cent of the total number.
Although the current Civil Aviation Law stipulates that airlines should pay compensations to passengers on the occasion of delayed flights, it does not specify criteria for compensation.
Some airlines have come under fire for their poor service during abnormal flights.