By Juan Pedro Sánchez Zamudio
Chilean government imposes new consumer-friendly aviation regulations
On November 30, the Chilean government issued Law No. 21392, an ordinance amending the Aviation Code, allowing for approval or transfer of airline tickets, as well as their full refund.
The rule states that, as well as the approval or transfer and full refund procedures, can be done through a digital form, or in person at the carrier’s ticket offices, airport counters and authorized agencies.
The relevant rule states that the passenger may freely subscribe or transfer his air ticket, for one-way and/or return flights. The passenger can approve or transfer the ticket up to one day before the flight.
The transfer of the respective right may be possible between persons and only once per ticket. During a year, the passenger may use this a maximum of two times per carrier, at the rate of one transfer per semester.
On the other hand, passengers have the right to unilaterally terminate the air carriage contract, destroy the ticket and receive a full refund without penalty. This procedure can be done within 48 hours of ticket purchase, for journeys purchased at least seven calendar days before the date and time of the scheduled departure.
If the scheduled departure is within a period equal to or longer than 180 days from the purchase of the ticket, the withdrawal period must be made within seven days of the purchase of the flight ticket. The refund of the flight ticket must be refunded within a period of 10 days, via the same payment method used for the purchase of the ticket.
If the airline ticket was purchased in cash, the carrier must agree on the passenger’s method of making the refund.
The first airlines in Chile to change their fare policies were Sky Airline and JetSmart.
Although LATAM is the Chilean airline with the largest number of flights in the country, it has not yet adapted its fare policy to the new Chilean regulations. It is important to point out that if an airline does not comply with this new regulation, it could be fined by the Chilean authority responsible for protecting customers.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the rule in question does not specify whether it applies to international flights and foreign airlines operating in Chile. This new law is a big step to avoid the excessive costs that airlines often impose on passengers.