Has your flight been cancelled? See what your rights are

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Has your flight been cancelled?  See what your rights are

With the increase in the contamination curve of Covid-19 and influenza in the country, the number of flights canceled in January skyrocketed and companies have to comply with rules for reimbursement, rescheduling and re-accommodation of passengers.

Cancellations due to contamination by part of the crew have already reached almost a thousand flights in Brazil and experts predict that the wave of rebookings will continue at least until the end of February.

A leaf listened to Anac (National Civil Aviation Agency), Idec (Consumer Defense Institute) and the Procons of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the Federal District and listed below the main rights of air ticket consumers.

The president of Procon-RJ, Cássio Coelho, recommends that consumers check the flight situation before leaving home — the airports managed by Infraero can be seen here.

Airline needs to notify passenger

According to Anac, whenever there is any cancellation or flight change —schedule or itinerary, such as a change from a direct flight to a flight with a stopover or connection, for example—, the company must inform the passenger about the situation within 72 hours before , for domestic flights, and 24h for international flights.

The agency also explains that the airline can change the time by up to 30 minutes, in relation to departure or arrival, when it comes to domestic flights and up to an hour when they are international flights. If the changes made are notified in advance, they do not generate any extra obligation on the service provider.

However, when this does not occur, it is the consumer’s right to receive alternatives for a full refund of the air ticket or re-accommodation on another available flight, either from the company itself or from another. But be careful: in the case of international flights, re-accommodation on a third-party flight will only occur if the company’s own flight is not available.

If the passenger is not informed about the cancellation, arrives at the airport and only finds out about the status of his flight there, the airline must also offer the alternatives of a full refund, re-accommodation or execution of the service by another mode of transport.

In addition, you must offer material assistance. The exception is only in the case of changes to international flights resulting from the closing of borders or airports, as determined by the authorities.

These rules are established by Anac resolution 400/2016, which provides for the general conditions of air transport in the country.

And when the flight is delayed?

When the passenger is already at the airport and there is a delay, Idec states that the following rules must be followed:

According to Procon-DF, if the consumer finds that there has been no compliance with the established rules, it is necessary to file a complaint on the consumer.gov.br website or directly with the responsible Procon.

Can I cancel the flight?

After receiving the proof of purchase of the air ticket, the customer will have up to 24 hours to withdraw from their purchase at no cost, provided that the purchase of the ticket has been made seven days or more in advance of the flight date.

This rule applies to purchases made both at electronic addresses and in physical stores. In these cases, regardless of the situation caused by the pandemic, the refund must occur within seven days.

After the deadline, the passenger can still reschedule their flight to another date or request a refund of the amount paid, but they will be subject to contractual fines and tariff differences.

In case of diagnosis of Covid-19 or influenza, Idec says that the consumer is entitled to re-accommodation on another flight or full refund of amounts paid within a period of up to seven days. The consumer can also choose to rebook the ticket at no cost.

How to complain

See Anac’s recommendations for those who have a complaint about airfare:

1) Look for the airline’s electronic and telephone service channels and don’t forget to write down protocol numbers, if possible. If you bought the ticket at a travel agency, collect the information from the location;

2) If you cannot find a solution, and you understand that your transport rights have been violated, file a complaint on the official consumer platform. The manifestations registered in this channel are analyzed by the agency to identify the main problems faced by passengers and, thus, direct the regulation and inspection of the General Conditions of Air Transport (ANAC resolution 400/2016) and accessibility (resolution 280/2013).

Further information on passengers’ rights and duties can be obtained on the Anac website.

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