A Truly Relevant and Responsive Air Passenger Bill of Rights

Cite as: 61 Ateneo L.J. 759 (2017)
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Air transportation in the Philippines has undergone significant development over the past few decades. However, this has also resulted in airline companies being placed on the receiving end of countless passenger complaints. Widespread criticism of these companies relate to their failure to provide a good traveling experience to passengers. In an answer to the issue of liability, several pieces of legislation and administrative orders have been put forth by both the Legislative and Executive Departments to regulate the industry and address this problem.

This Article traces the legislation covering air transportation and common carriers, including several other laws related to the subject. It further discusses the nature of past and currently pending bills and resolutions being lobbied by Senators and House Representatives, and their attempt to legislate an Air Passenger Bill of Rights (APBR). The APBR has its roots from a Joint Administrative Order released by the Department of Transportation and Communication and the Department of Trade and Industry in 2012. Comparing local legislation relating to passengers’ rights to international standards, the Article proceeds to discuss the Chicago Convention, under which the International Civil Aviation Organization was created, and the consequences that challenge the creation of passenger rights regimes.

After looking into local and international contexts, the Author calls for better regulations concerning air passenger rights and suggests that a law be passed harmonizing both domestic and international aspects of air transportation experiences. While providing rights to air passengers, such piece of legislation must also consider unintended consequences that may arise aware of the possibility that it may even worsen air travelers’ experience rather than improve it.

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