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Pressure on airlines

Starting this week, Mexican airlines are required by Law to compensate users for delays in their flights
Intercontinental Airport of Querétaro - File photo/REUTERS
06/11/2017
09:00
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
-A +A

Mexican consumers have been for years the target of the abuses of business enterprises. Little has been done to improve bad quality products or services. With the creation of a Prosecutor's Office specialized in the consumers, the panorama improved somewhat, but several sectors still keep an uneven relationship with their clients; among them, airlines. To complain about delayed flights is like talking to a wall.

By Law, starting this week all Mexican airlines are bound to compensate customers for any delay in their flights if the cause is attributable to the company.

If a flight is delayed for more than an hour but less than four, the modification to the Law on Civil Aviation states airlines must now compensate their clients. Each company must establish its own policies on the matter, however. For delays exceeding the four hours or cancellations, aviation regulations state the compensations.

According to the information published today by EL UNIVERSAL, the compensations which are going to be offered by Mexican airlines fall behind those offered by foreign companies. Domestic airlines have already confirmed they will issue coupons for 100 to 200 Mexican pesos, valid for future purchases, and they are going to offer water bottles to passengers.

Meanwhile, some European airlines currently offer refunds for 250 to 400 Euros ($5,500 and $9,000 MXN) if the flight has a three-hour delay.

Why can foreign companies offer higher compensations? Because they are certain delays in their flights are uncommon. They have strict procedures to make sure the risk of a delay is reduced to its minimum. Delays still happen due to other factors, but not because of causes attributable to the airline. Their work culture highlights efficiency and quality.

According to the data issued by the Ministry of Communications and Transportation on flight punctuality rates, Mexican companies had a reliability of 78.9% in August, followed by Central and South American companies with 87.8%, while American airlines scored 88.6%. The first place goes to the Asian airlines, with 95.1%.

This amendment to the law will force airlines to reinvent themselves, to be more efficient, and even to innovate their operation. It's a shame any progress achieved in this sector seems to be a result of coercion rather than a genuine will to improve.

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