FILIPINO TRAVELERS might want to ask the government to adopt a policy similar to the one announced recently by the United States Transportation Department.
Local newspapers recently carried a report from the British news service Reuters that the American government agency would be requiring US airlines to offer bag fee refunds for losing luggage. In the story by John Crawley, it was also stated that the department would double the penalty for involuntarily “bumping” passengers off sold-out flights.
The story said it was estimated that airlines lose some two million bags annually. As travelers know, losing a bag is a major inconvenience. People are left without any change of clothes and toiletries and often have no choice but to incur unbudgeted expenses to replace necessary items that were in the wayward bag.
A more serious problem is the loss of medicines, particularly prescription drugs that are sometimes not easy to get.
Airlines are already supposed to reimburse passengers for lost or damaged luggage. What the new US Transportation Department regulation covers are the fees that airlines now collect from passengers.
You may have noticed that the baggage allowance in some airlines is less than before, so more and more people are being charged for exceeding the limit. Some budget fares even specify that the passenger can only take carry-on luggage. Any checked-in item is charged a fee.
As for being bumped off a flight, this is becoming a common occurrence. Airlines often deliberately overbook flights, anticipating that some passengers will not show up. Sometimes, of course, that proves to be wishful thinking, as everybody booked on a particular flight shows up, and on time, too.
In issuing the new regulation, Crawley quoted Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as saying, “It is just common sense that if an airline loses your bag or you get bumped off a flight because it was oversold, you should be reimbursed.”
Prepaid Globe and Touch Mobile (TM) subscribers may want to take advantage of a special offer from the telecommunications company and the Shopwise-Rustans supermarket group.
Until the end of May, they will get an additional P10 for every P100 load they buy. The partnership between Globe and Shopwise-Rustans makes reloading a prepaid phone more convenient. Shoppers can reload their phone or somebody else’s as they pay for their purchases at the cashier by simply giving the number that should receive the load. The transaction takes no more than a few seconds. Even better, the purchase is recorded on the receipt.
People who purchase loads but who do not have the phones with them have a record of the transaction in case something goes wrong and the amount is not remitted. Or, if they are sending somebody to buy the load, the receipt will tell them whether or not the purchase was made.
The whole process has already been programmed into Shopwise-Rustans cash registers, so it is as easy as paying for groceries. However, shoppers who use credit cards will have to pay cash for load purchases, but ATM (automated teller machine) cards can be used to pay for both groceries and load.
At the launch of the new service, Donnie V. Tantoco, president of Rustan’s Supercenters Inc., said the project was in line with their goal to enable busy clients to maximize every shopping trip to the supermarket. The Globe team at the launch was headed by Ferdinand de la Cruz, head of consumer sales group.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]