New rules as to air passenger rights in Mexico

On June 27, 2017, a decree that amended certain provisions of the Mexican Civil Aviation Act (“MCAA”) pertaining to air passenger rights came into effect (the “Decree”). New obligations were imposed to air carriers, some of which are listed below (article 42 Bis of the MCAA):

A. In providing public air transport services, air carriers or their legal representatives have an obligation to inform passengers on their fares.

B. Air carriers are responsible that the information and publicity on their fares are accurate, exact, ascertainable, and clear.

Fares should apply on equal terms to all passengers with no discrimination.

The infringement to the above duties, will be regarded as a serious fault and punished by the Consumer Protection Agency (“CPA”) in accordance with the Mexican Consumer Protection Law.

In addition to the above duties, according to the amended article 47 Bis of the MCAA, air carriers shall provide passengers with an efficient and quality service by ensuring that at least the following passenger rights are respected:

I.    Passengers with reduced mobility have the right to be carried, and no conditions or additional charges shall be established that prevent them from boarding.

II.  A person of legal age may be accompanied by a two-old year child (or younger) without paying a ticket for the child without baggage allowance.

III. Air carriers shall quickly inform passengers on any cancellation or delay with at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled time of departure, through calls, emails, text messages or any other electronic means.

IV. Should a passenger buy a round-trip ticket or with any connecting point, passengers may use the tickets for each leg of the flight. Passengers shall not be denied boarding against their will if they did not use any leg of the flight.

V.  If a flight is delayed with respect to the scheduled time of departure and the cause of such a delay is attributable to the air carrier, the passenger experiencing the delay shall receive compensation, in accordance with the following criteria:

  • For more than one hour but less than four hours, passengers will be compensated according to compensation policies of air carriers, that shall include, at least discounts for future flights to the same destination, and/or meals and beverages.

  • For more than two hours but less than four hours, the discounts included in the compensation policies of air carriers shall not be lower than 7.5% of the ticket price.

  • For more than four hours, passengers will be compensated under the terms that the MFAA states for cancellation of flights attributable to air carriers. I any case, telephone calls and emails shall be made available to passengers.

VI. In case of cancellation of a flight, for causes attributable to the air carrier, passengers will be offered the choice between:

  • Reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket, or the cost for the part or parts of the journey not made. However, it remains unclear the basis to determine the price of the ticket to be reimbursed.

  • Re-routing at the earliest opportunity, within the means available to the air carrier. In addition, passengers will be offered free of charge (i) telephone calls and emails, (ii) meals until boarding a new flight, (iii) accommodation at a hotel of the airport or city where a stay becomes necessary and in the latter case, transport between the airport and place of accommodation.    It remains unclear the transport conditions of the re-routing, and if the hotel accommodation covers more than one night, if necessary.

  • Re-routing to the final destination of the flight cancelled, at a later date agreed by the passenger.

In the cases of paragraphs VI (a) and (c) above, the air carrier shall pay affected passengers an amount that will not be lower than 25% of the ticket price, or of the part of the journey not made.

VII.  If an aircraft must land in a location other than the final destination due to a force majeure event, the operating air carrier shall carry passengers to the destination point by the quickest means of transportation available.

VIII. Passengers have the right to know the terms of the contract of carriage as well as their rights. Air carriers shall inform passengers, when buying the ticket, on the terms and conditions of the contract, compensation policies and passenger rights.

Air carriers shall indemnify passengers within a term of ten natural days after the passenger’s claim, except for the claims pertaining to meals and hotel accommodation that shall be paid to passengers when occurring the flight delay.

The Mexican government has a term of 180 working days as of the becoming into effect of the Decree to amend the relevant regulations allowing the implementation of the Decree.

As of the becoming into effect of the Decree, air carriers will have (i) a term of 90 working days to adjust their internal proceedings to comply with the Decree, and (ii) a term of 90 calendar days to register with the Secretary of Communications and Transportations and the CPA their compensation policies.

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