The Ministry of Transport of Vietnam has just issued Circular No. 19/2023/TT-BGTVT amending, supplementing, and annulling a number of articles of the Circulars related to air transport. The new circular clearly stipulates the obligations of airlines as a consequence of their flight delay, cancellation, and early departure. It takes effect from September 01, 2023.

Delayed Flight

Specifically, the rule clearly states that a delayed flight is a flight whose actual departure time is 15 minutes later than the expected departure. In such an event, if no fault of the passengers is found, the airline is obliged to provide and fully update the information for the passenger.

In addition, the airline must apologize to the passengers and ensure the food, accommodation, communication, as well as other costs directly related to the waiting time at the airport as prescribed in regulations of carriage and must ensure the quality of passenger services at the airport.

In case the flight is delayed by 2 hours or longer, the airline must change the itinerary accordingly for the passenger. At the same time, the airline can transfer the passenger to another flight to the destination. The airline must also waive any restrictions on itinerary or flight changeovers and associated surcharges (if any) for passengers.

If the flight is delayed by 5 hours or longer, the passenger reserves the right to either request the airline to perform the above obligations or abandon the flight and claim the refund. At this time, the airline must refund the total or unused portion of the ticket at the airport or at the representative offices, branches, or ticketing agents provided by the airline.

For long-delayed flights, upon request of passengers, the airline must make non-refundable advance compensation for passengers who have confirmed seats and have tickets on the flight in accordance with regulations on compensation to be issued by the Minister of the Ministry of Transport.

Cancellation Obligations

A canceled flight is defined as the failure to perform a flight for which the flight schedule for booking and ticketing has been published on the carrier’s reservation system (CRS) within 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.

In case the passenger is not transported due to the fault of the airline and the flight is canceled without prior notice to the passenger by the carrier, in addition to the same obligations as in the case of flight delay, the airline must pay non-refundable advance compensation for passengers who have confirmed seats and have tickets on the flight in accordance with the prevailing regulations.

Early Departure Control

For the early departure flight (flight with actual departure time 15 minutes earlier than the expected departure time), the passenger has been confirmed seat but not transported and did not receive notice of change of early departure time or did not agree to the change of early departure time, the airline is subject to the same obligations in case of flight cancellation.

At the same time, the refund of tickets for passengers is also applied in separate cases. In particular:

  • the restriction on ticket refund and ticket refund fee (if any) is exempted.
  • for a completely unused ticket, the refund will be equal to the fare paid by the passenger. Fares include the following: transportation service prices; taxes and fees prescribed by the competent authority, prices for services to ensure passenger and luggage security, and prices for passenger services at airports and aerodromes collected by airlines; other relevant surcharges according to the lawful invoice provided by the passenger.
  • for partially used ticked, the refund will not be less than the difference between the fare paid and the fare, other services used for the passenger’s journey.