Almost everyone who has travelled with planes know some of the potential drama and stress that can occur at any point of travel. Flight delays, flight cancellation, damaged or even worse – missing luggage are all the common woes a flight traveler might face.

You’ve probably seen countless of times by now, unsatisfied customers creating a scene at the customer service helpdesk or even bombarding the airline’s social media page about the complaints they lodged that are left unattended or perhaps, overlooked. Some travelers might even just brush it off and accept whatever happens as long they arrive to their destination in one piece.

But did you know that as a consumer we have rights that allows us to get some form of compensation from the airline company in case of any unwanted incidents?

According to the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM), “If you travel by air in Malaysia, your rights are clearly defined and protected under the national law. These rights cover dealings with airlines, airports and other aviation service providers, including foreign airlines operating into and out of Malaysia. Knowing your rights can help you receive a fair outcome if something goes wrong while traveling.”

The Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 is kind of a long document (which you can read here), so we’ve simplified eight basic rights that every Malaysian traveler should know and exercise.

Flight Delays

Remember to ask the airline staff for your compensation!
Ah yes, the most common problem of all problems in the aviation industry. There are two types of compensation you are entitled to depending on the length of the delay. If your flight delay has also caused you to miss your connecting flight to your final destination, please note that the airline is responsible to transport you to your final destination and also compensate you with meals, telephone calls, internet access and hotel accommodation if applicable only if the connecting flight is booked from the same airline.

The airline however would not be able to provide compensation for “extraordinary circumstances” such as security risks or extreme weather which the airline could not have known would happen.

Flight Cancellations

Your flight getting cancelled is the start of all your travel nightmares!
Now this may just be every traveler’s nightmare, nobody would want their flight to be cancelled which will ultimately result in an unfortunate chain of events such as missing your daughter’s wedding, your cousin’s funeral, or ruining your dream vacation.

So, what can the airline do to help fix the situation? The airline is also obliged to provide sufficient notice prior to the cancellation.

Denied Boarding – Overbooked Flight

Ain't nobody givin' up their seats!
Earlier this year, United Airlines sparked controversy and rage from people all over the world after they forcibly removed one of their passengers which caused him sever injury due to overbooking on their flight. The issue has then been resolved and let’s hope such incidents will not happen again.

Overbooking is when an airline has sold more tickets than the number of seats available for a particular flight and it isn’t an uncommon issue in the airline industry. It’s bound to happen every now and then.

So, what happens if you happen to be removed from a flight either voluntarily or involuntarily?

Lost, Damaged, and Delayed Baggage or Items

A missing luggage will hurt more than a broken luggage.
If you’ve arrived at your destination, the first thing you’re probably looking forward to do is to collect your luggage (apart from turning your phone on). But what happens if your luggage turns out to be damaged or even worse – missing? There are even certain cases where your luggage may arrive later than your flight for some reason.

So, what should you do? You must file a written complain to your airline in these circumstances: You can also claim necessities purchased during the period of delayed baggage provided that you can produce the proof of purchases. The airline however will not be responsible for general wear and tear such as scratches and minor cuts to your luggage.

You must be wondering whether you can actually file a claim if you are flying on a budget airline. Well according to Mavcom, “Airlines are liable to pay compensation in the event of damaged/delayed/lost baggage, regardless whether the consumer had purchased any travel insurance.”

For those who might have mobility issues and need to use mobility equipments such as wheelchairs or walking aids, you can request for assistance from your airline provided that you have informed them at least 48 hours before take off.

Airports staffs are well trained to assist people with disabilities or mobility issues.
Sometimes, you may even have your own wheelchair or walking aid that you will bring along the flight. But what happens in the event if your mobility equipment has been damaged or lost?

Unresolved Complaints

After exhausting all possible efforts to get your issue to be resolved by the airline/airport/aviation service provider and yet there is still no action taken or has an unsatisfactory outcome after 30 days of lodging the report, you can file a complaint with Mavcom and they will assist you to fight for your rights. Click here to make a complaint.