Saudi Arabia Introduces New Passenger Protection Guidelines

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is set to implement groundbreaking passenger protection guidelines, slated to commence on November 20, 2023. These comprehensive regulations are designed to transform the travel experience, offering enhanced rights and compensation for passengers facing flight disruptions, lost luggage, and other issues.
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The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia has approved new passenger protection guidelines that will replace the existing customer regulations. The new guidelines will be applicable as of November 20, 2023, and will aim to protect the rights of passengers and improve the services provided.

Enhanced Passenger Rights in Focus

The forthcoming regulations place a paramount emphasis on upholding the rights of passengers, particularly in scenarios involving flight disruptions, reservation concerns, and changes to ticket classes.

A notable feature of the new guidelines is the robust support they provide to travellers faced with flight delays or cancellations.

Passengers enduring delays exceeding six hours will not only be entitled to meals, beverages, accommodations, and transport, but they will also be eligible for a compensation of SAR 750, reflecting a notable uplift in passenger protection.

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Saudi Arabia’s New Passenger Protection Guidelines

Passengers at airport terminal

Delayed flights: Passengers who experience a flight delay of more than six hours will be entitled to meals, soft drinks, accommodation, and means of transport. They will also be eligible for a compensation of SAR 750.

Cancelled flights: Passengers who are affected by a flight cancellation will be entitled to a full refund of their ticket price. They may also be eligible for compensation of up to 150% of the ticket value.

Overbooking: Passengers who are denied boarding due to overbooking will be entitled to a full refund of their ticket price and a compensation of up to 200% of the ticket value.

Ticket downgrade: Passengers who are downgraded to a lower class of service will be entitled to a compensation of 200% of the difference in fare.

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Unscheduled stop: Passengers who are made to make an unscheduled stop will be entitled to a compensation of approximately SAR 500 for each stop.

People with special needs: Passengers with special needs will be entitled to a compensation of 200% in case they are denied boarding or if their wheelchair is not provided.

Lost luggage: Passengers who experience lost luggage will be entitled to a compensation of SAR 6,568.

Damaged luggage: Passengers who experience damaged luggage will be entitled to compensation of up to SAR 6,568.

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Delayed baggage: Passengers who experience delayed baggage will be entitled to a compensation of SAR 740 for the first day and SAR 300 for the second day, up to a maximum of SAR 6,568.

Delay on the runway on arrival or departure: Passengers who experience a delay on the runway of more than three hours will be entitled to deboard and receive compensation in line with the relevant regulations.

The new guidelines are a significant improvement over the previous regulations and will provide passengers with more protection and better services. They are also in line with international standards and best practices.

ItemPrevious GuidelinesNew Guidelines
Delayed FlightsMeals, drinks, accommodation, transport for delays > 6 hoursRefund and compensation of up to 200%
Cancelled Flights100% refundUp to 150% refund of the ticket value
OverbookingNo boarding allowedRefund and compensation up to 200%
Ticket Degrade100% compensation200% compensation
Unscheduled StopUndeterminedApproximately SAR 500 for each stop
People with Special Needs200% compensationCompensation of 200% if denied boarding; SAR 500 for no wheelchair
Lost LuggageCompensation range of SAR 1,750-5,655Compensation of SAR 6,568
Damaged LuggageCompensation range of SAR 1,750-5,655Compensation of up to SAR 6,568
Delayed BaggageSAR 100-200 for delays up to 5 days (domestic & international)SAR 740 (1st day) + SAR 300 (2nd day) up to SAR 6,568
Delay on RunwayUndeterminedPassengers can deboard after 3-hour delay + relevant compensation

Ushering in a New Era of Passenger Protection

With these pioneering regulations, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation is poised to usher in a new era of passenger-centricity and service excellence. These measures, set to be enforced from November 20, 2023, undoubtedly reflect the nation’s commitment to enhancing the travel experience for all air passengers.

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How to File a Claim

Passengers who believe that their rights have been violated under the new guidelines can file a claim with the GACA. The claim can be filed online or in person at any GACA office.

The GACA will investigate the claim and will issue a decision within 30 days. If the claim is successful, the passenger will be compensated in accordance with the new guidelines.

Conclusion

The new passenger protection guidelines are a positive development for air travellers in Saudi Arabia. They provide passengers with more protection and better services, and they are in line with international standards and best practices. If you experience any problems with your flight, be sure to file a claim with the GACA to protect your rights.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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