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Normal for airlines to charge for name errors, says Mavcom
Published on: Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Normal for airlines to charge for name errors, says Mavcom
Mavcom says each airline has its own policy for name changes on tickets based on whether it is a minor or major change. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) says it is a normal practice in the aviation industry for airlines to impose fees for name changes on tickets, following criticism by former law minister Zaid Ibrahim who accused the commission of failing to protect the interests of passengers.

Zaid had hit out at Mavcom last week, citing a recent incident in which he was charged RM50 for correcting a minor error in his name while checking in for a flight.

In a post on X, Zaid said he had been charged for the error in his booking details despite providing sufficient identification.

In a statement to FMT, Mavcom said each airline had its own policy for name changes based on whether it was a minor or major change that might have implications on passenger information and identity.

“This is a global commercial practice aimed at ensuring smooth travel experiences,” said a Mavcom spokesman.

“Generally, (both) Malaysian and foreign airlines charge a fee for name changes. However, some airlines may allow minor spelling errors to be corrected free of charge.”

The spokesman said airlines were responsible for ensuring the accuracy of passenger details such as names, identification, visa requirements, travel restrictions and other relevant information before boarding.

Adding that airlines were responsible for maintaining a high level of transparency in their services to ensure that passengers could make informed decisions, Mavcom said airlines must clearly communicate the fees associated with name changes to passengers in their terms and conditions.

“Mavcom encourages consumers to read the terms and conditions carefully before purchasing a flight ticket. It is also important for consumers to provide accurate and up-to-date information to the airline to avoid boarding or travel complications,” said the spokesman.

In his post on X, Zaid also said airlines took up to 90 days for refunds if they cancelled flights, describing this as “absolutely unfair” to passengers.

In response, the Mavcom spokesman said that under the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC), passengers are entitled to reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket within 30 days, inclusive of taxes and fees, for any unused portion of the journey.

Alternatively, passengers have the right to be rerouted to their final destination under comparable transport conditions without incurring extra charges.

“Airlines’ failure to comply with MACPC may result in a financial penalty. We urge consumers to reach out to us with their specific complaints so that we may thoroughly investigate and provide assistance,” it said.

The spokesman added that Mavcom was committed to ongoing reviews of MACPC to ensure that it remains a relevant and effective tool for protecting consumers in the aviation industry.

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