Consumer Protection - Delays, Cancellations and Denied Boarding
Article 1: Scope
1. This Regulation applies to passengers departing from an airport in Oman on the condition that passengers:
(a) have a confirmed reservation on the flight concerned and, except in the case of cancellation referred to in Article 3, present themselves for check-in,
1) as stipulated and at the time indicated in advance and in writing (including by electronic means) by the air carrier, the tour operator or an authorised travel agent, or if no time is indicated,
2) not later than 60 minutes before the published departure time; or
(b) have been transferred by an air carrier or tour operator from the flight for which they held a reservation to another flight, irrespective of the reason.
2. This Regulation does not apply to passengers travelling free of charge or at a reduced fare not available directly or indirectly to the public. However, it does apply to passengers having tickets issued under a frequent flyer programme or other commercial programmes by an air carrier or tour operator.
3. This Regulation only applies to passengers transported by motorised fixed-wing aircraft.
4. This Regulation applies to any operating air carrier providing transport to passengers covered by paragraphs 1 and 2. Where an operating air carrier which has no contract with the passenger performs obligations under this Regulation, it shall be regarded as doing so on behalf of the person having a contract with that passenger.
5. This Regulation does not apply in cases where a package tour is cancelled for reasons other than cancellation of the flight.
Article 2: Denied boarding
1. When an operating air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it shall first call for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits under conditions to be agreed between the passenger concerned and the operating air carrier. Volunteers shall be assisted in accordance with Article 6, such assistance being additional to the benefits mentioned in this paragraph.
2. If an insufficient number of volunteers comes forward to allow the remaining passengers with reservations to board the flight, the operating air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will in accordance with the following:
(a) Every carrier shall establish priority rules and criteria for determining which passengers holding confirmed reserved space shall be denied boarding on an oversold flight in the event that an insufficient number of volunteers come forward.
(b) Such rules and criteria shall reflect the obligations of the carrier to minimize involuntarily denied boarding and to request volunteers, and shall be written in such manner as to be understandable and meaningful to the average passenger.
(c) Such rules and criteria shall not make, give, or cause any unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person or subject any particular person to any unjust or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever.
3. If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the operating air carrier shall immediately compensate them in accordance with Article 4 and assist them in accordance with Articles 5 and 6.
Article 3: Cancellation
1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the operating air carrier must offer to the passengers concerned:
(a) Assistance specified in Article 5; and
(b) Assistance in accordance with Article 6(1)(a) and 6(2), as well as, in event of re-routing when the reasonably expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the departure as it was planned for the cancelled flight, the assistance specified in Article 6(1)(b) and 6(1)(c); and
(c) Compensation in accordance with Article 4, unless passengers are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure.
2. An operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 4, if it can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. The Authority will be responsible for determining whether or not circumstances are extraordinary, in accordance with Annex IV.
3. The burden of proof concerning the questions as to whether and when the passenger has been informed of the cancellation of the flight shall rest with the operating air carrier.
Article 4: Right to compensation
1. Where reference is made to this Article, the operating air carrier shall provide passengers with compensation amounting to:
(a) OMR 108 for all flights of 1,500 kilometres or less;
(b) OMR 173 for all flights between 1,500 kilometres and 3,500 kilometres;
(c) OMR 260 for all flights not falling under (a) or (b).
In determining the distance, the basis shall be the last destination at which the denial of boarding or cancellation will delay the passenger's arrival after the scheduled time.14
2. No compensation shall be provided when passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination pursuant to Article 5, the arrival time of which does not exceed the arrival time of the flight originally booked by one hour.
3. When passengers are offered re-routing to their final destination pursuant to Article 5, the arrival time of which does not exceed the scheduled arrival time of the flight originally booked, the operating air carrier may reduce the compensation provided for in paragraph 1 by 50% in the following cases:
(a) By two hours, in respect of all flights of 1,500 kilometres or less; or
(b) By three hours, in respect of all flights of between 1,500 kilometres and 3,500 kilometres; or
(c) By four hours, in respect of all flights not falling under (a) or (b),
4. Carriers may offer free or reduced rate air transport in lieu of the compensation due under paragraphs (1)-(3) of this section, if—
(a) The value of the transport benefit offered, excluding any fees or other mandatory charges applicable for using the free or reduced rate air transport, is equal to or greater than the compensation payment otherwise due;
(b) The carrier fully informs the passenger of the amount of cash compensation that would otherwise be due and that the passenger may decline the alternative transport and receive the cash payment; and
(c) The carrier fully discloses all material restrictions, including but not limited to, administrative fees, advance purchase or capacity restrictions, and blackout dates applicable to the offer, on the use of such free or reduced rate air transport before the passenger decides to give up the compensation payment in exchange for such transport.
5. The compensation referred to in paragraphs (1)-(3) of this section shall be paid within 7 days in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.
6. The distances given in paragraphs (1) and (3) of this section shall be measured by the great circle route method.
Article 5: Right to reimbursement or re-routing
1. Passengers shall be offered the choice between:
(a) Reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 4(5), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant, a return flight to the first point of departure, at the earliest opportunity.
(b) Re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity; or
(c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to availability of seats.
Article 6: Assistance to Passengers of Delayed or Cancelled flights and for Denied Boarding
1. Where reference is made to this Article or when an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed on departure for two hours or more, passengers shall be offered –free of charge- by the operating air carrier the following assistance:
(a) meals and/or refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
(b) hotel accommodation in cases
- where a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary;
- where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary, or
(c) transport between the airport and place of accommodation (hotel or other).
2. In addition, passengers shall be offered free of charge two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails. In applying this Article, the operating air carrier shall pay particular attention to the needs of persons with reduced mobility and any persons accompanying them, as well as to the needs of unaccompanied children.
3. Where a flight is delayed or cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances, the operating air carrier may limit the right to hotel accommodation referred to at Article 6(1)(b) to a maximum of three nights.
Article 7: Upgrading and downgrading
1. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class higher than that for which the ticket was purchased, it may not request any supplementary payment.
2. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 4(4), reimburse:
(a) 30 % of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1 500 kilometres or less, or
(b) 50 % of the price of the ticket for all flights between 1 500 and 3 500 kilometres, or
(c) 75 % of the price of the ticket for all flights in excess of 3 500 kilometres.
Article 8: Further compensation
1. This Regulation shall apply without prejudice to a passenger's rights to further compensation. The compensation granted under this Regulation may be deducted from such compensation.
2. Without prejudice to relevant principles and rules of national law, including case-law, paragraph 1 shall not apply to passengers who have voluntarily surrendered a reservation under Article 2(1).
Article 9: Right of redress
1. In cases where an operating air carrier pays compensation or meets the other obligations incumbent on it under this Regulation, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting its right to seek compensation from any person, including third parties, in accordance with the applicable law. In particular, this Regulation shall in no way restrict the operating air carrier's right to seek reimbursement from a tour operator or another person with whom the operating air carrier has a contract. Similarly, no provision of this Regulation may be interpreted as restricting the right of a tour operator or a third party, other than a passenger, with whom an operating air carrier has a contract, to seek reimbursement or compensation from the operating air carrier in accordance with applicable relevant laws.
Article 10: Obligation to inform passengers of their rights
1. The operating air carrier shall ensure that at check-in a clearly legible notice containing the following text is displayed in a manner clearly visible to passengers:
"If you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least two hours, ask at the check-in counter or boarding gate for the text stating your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance".
An operating air carrier denying boarding or cancelling a flight shall inform each passenger affected of the rules for compensation and assistance in line with this Regulation. It shall also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least two hours with an equivalent notice. The contact details of the Authority shall be given to the passenger in written form.
2. In respect of blind and visually impaired persons, the provisions of this Article shall be applied using appropriate alternative means.