Authority to sensitise travellers on consumer rights

Thursday, August 8th, 2019 00:00 |
Travellers stranded at Moi International Airport in Mombasa after operations were paralysed by an aviation workers strike in 2018. Photo/NDEGWA GATHUNGU 

Passengers frustrated by poor services offered by airlines and travel agents can now lodge their complaints with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), the industry regulator.

Many passenngers experience inconvenience in their travel such as airport delays, overbookings, flight cancellations and lost luggage. KCAA says it will intervene where pasengers fail to resolve isues with airlines, airport operators or other aviation service providers.

KCAA Director General Gilbert Kibe says the authority is mandated to protect consumers against discrimination on grounds of nationality, race, sex, age, colour, creed, physical ability or a physical stature. It will also ensure consumers get value for any money spent. 

Communication channels

“In  case passengers suffer considerable delays, overbookings, luggage loss or flight cancellations, we want them to rest assured that we have in place a system for redress that ensures compliance with the laid down code of practice, ensuring that the quality and value of services provided meet consumer expectations,” said Capt Kibe.

According to the aviation regulator, airlines and ground-handling agents are obliged to inform passengers of any planned cancellations or long-term delays anticipated at least 12 hours before scheduled flights.

They should also offer a communication channel for emergencies and provide alternative solutions or compensation in case of denied boarding, flight cancellation, delayed flight and lost, damaged or delayed baggage.

Code shared flights

“We want to ensure consumers are aware of their rights from the point of the ticket purchase to assure that aviation consumers are accorded the best services and value from the service providers within the aviation industry,” he said.

Kibe said travellers have a right to request for documents on insurance, compensation, assistance and complaints procedures. They also have a right to appropriate alternative means of communication in case they are illiterate, visually impaired or physically challenged.

“Airlines should provide information on consumers’ legal and contractual rights, the identity of carriers to be used and assurance of good customer service from codeshare partners,” he added.  

Airlines in Nairobi say they are reviewing the KCAA statement.  “We also strive to ensure that all our passengers are alerted should there be any flight cancellations or delays. This is done through SMS and email,” said the Jambo Jet marketing team.

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