By Juan Pedro Sanchez Zamudio
Chilean Government Imposes New Consumer-Friendly Airline Regulations
On November 30, the Chilean government issued Law No. 21392, a regulation that modifies the aeronautical code, which allows air tickets’ endorsement or transfer, as well as its full refund.
The rule states that, as well as the endorsement or transfer and the full refund procedures, can be carried out through a digital form, or personally at the ticket sales offices, airport counters and authorized agencies that the carrier has.
The rule in question states that the passenger may freely endorse or transfer his air ticket, for one way and/or round trips, at no cost. The passenger can endorse or transfer the ticket up to one day prior to the flight.
The transfer of the right in question may be possible between people and only once for each ticket. During a year, the passenger may only use this a maximum of two times per carrier, at the rate of one transfer per semester.
On the other hand, passengers will have the right to unilaterally terminate the air transport contract, nullifying the ticket and receiving a full refund without penalty. This procedure can be done within 48 hours after purchasing the ticket, for trips that are purchased at least seven calendar days before the date and time of the scheduled departure.
In case the scheduled departure is within a period equal to or greater than 180 days from the purchase of the ticket, the withdrawal period must be done within seven days after the air ticket’s purchase. The air ticket refund must be reimbursed within a period of 10 days, through the same payment method used for the ticket purchase.
In case the air ticket was purchased in cash, the carrier must agree on the passenger’s method to make the reimbursement.
The first airlines in Chile to change its fare policies were Sky Airline and JetSmart.
Although LATAM is the Chilean airline with the largest number of operations within the country, it has not yet updated its fare policies according to the new Chilean regulations. It is important to point out that if an airline does not comply with this new regulation, it may be fined by the Chilean authority in charge of safeguarding customer protection.
Finally, it is necessary to mention that the rule in question has not specified whether it applies to international flights and foreign airlines that operate in Chile. This new law is a great step to avoid the excessive charges that airlines often impose on passengers.