Vietnam's air carriers have to compensate more for flight delays, new rule says

By Thuy Vi, TN News

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Travelers queue to board a flight at Tan Son Nhat Airport during the Lunar New Year festival in February 2015. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Travelers queue to board a flight at Tan Son Nhat Airport during the Lunar New Year festival in February 2015. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Air carriers in Vietnam will be required to pay higher compensation to passengers affected by flight delays and cancellations starting July.
A new regulation states that airlines will have to pay travelers more when their flights are canceled or delayed by more than four hours. It increases the compensation rates for domestic flights to between VND200,000 and VND400,000 a passenger, and for international flights to between $25-150.
The government introduced a policy in March that requires local airlines to give their customers refunds for flight delays of five hours or more.
But aviation rules also free Vietnamese airlines from any responsibility if they have to delay or cancel a flight due to weather, security reasons or a sick passenger.
Official statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) showed that local airlines have not been able to meet travel demand especially during peak seasons. 
A total of 928 flights were delayed during the recent Lunar New Year festival, from February 15 to 22, up three times from last year’s holiday.
Late aircraft arrivals caused most of the delays, CAAV said, adding that another 35 flights were canceled.
A CAAV's inspection last year also showed that the airlines usually failed to inform customers properly of the delays or make their wait tolerable.
Low-cost carriers Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air in particular failed to provide prompt and thorough announcements even for hours-long delays.
When they did announce the delays, they did not apologize or provide the passengers with food and drinks.
Jetstar Pacific delayed 30.6 percent of its flights last year and Vietjet 18.9 percent, the airlines said.

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