Published on July 11th, 2017 | by Mark Chesnut
What Are Your Rights as an Airline Passenger in Mexico?
I recently received a payment from American Airlines, three years after the carrier stranded me in Barcelona for nearly three days (and subsequently denied me any compensation, in clear violation of European Union guidelines). When I posted about that on my Facebook page, it drew such a big response from people that I realized we should pay attention to the rights we have when we fly in Latin America, too — specifically, the new regulations in effect in Mexico.
In late June 2017, changes took effect in laws that require airlines to reimburse and otherwise compensate their customers when there are problems. In other words, airlines operating in Mexico face stricter penalties if their flights are delayed by more than 60 minutes. The revamped law goes into effect fully during the last week of October 2017.
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The amendments are part of the Civil Aviation Act and the Federal Consumer Protection Law (Leyes de Aviación Civil y Federal de Protección al Consumidor, in case you want to refer to the changes in Spanish to impress the ticket agents).
While the new regulations may seem a bit complex or weak in some areas, they still provide some guarantees and protections that would likely be welcomed by harried frequent flyers in the United States as well.
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Here are the key points to keep in mind in terms of your rights when flying in Mexico, as of October:
• In case of a delay of more than one hour and less than two hours, airlines must compensate based on their own policies, with a minimum compensation of discounts on subsequent flights to the destination, and/or food and beverages.
• If the flight is delayed between two and four hours, the airline must provide a 7.5 percent discount on a future trip to the same destination.
• If the delay is four hours or more, the airline must reimburse the full value of the route, offer alternative transportation, as well as accommodations and ground transportation to and from the airport (if necessary).
• Airline passengers in Mexico have the right to fly with two carry-ons (at no charge).
• If you’re making connections or flying roundtrip, you can use any segment or flight of your ticket, without being denied boarding even if you haven’t used other parts of the ticket.
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You can print out a copy of the new passenger rights and airline regulations by clicking here, in case you want to carry it on your next trip.
Not related directly to the new regulations — but nevertheless interesting for people who travel in Mexico: The nation’s competition watchdog organization in June introduced new measures to reduce flight delays and improve service at the Mexico City airport. The airport now must provide clear rules about how airlines use slots at the crowded airport, and airlines that have frequent delays with certain flights and slots may lose the right to fly them.