Buses and airplanes: Know your rights when traveling

What happens if a bus departs late? What happens if I do not get my luggage back? Find out about your rights as a traveler on buses and airplanes.

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Bus

  • Users are entitled to be transported safely in intercity buses, at authorized speeds. Companies must take all measures to avoid any damage, to both passengers and their property.
  • The agreed terms must be respected. For example, passengers should demand punctuality, both in departure and arrival times to their destination; there must be consistency between what is offered and what is provided (e.g., bathrooms, TV, breakfast and punctuality).
  • Users have a right to not to be victims of overbooking of tickets and to be compensated if this occurs.
  • The company is obliged to return at least 85% of the ticket value if the user cancels with four or more hours in advance.
  • Regarding luggage, it should arrive at the destination in good condition. If the company loses any luggage, it must compensate the user with up to 5 UTM (about $ 216,000 CLP), according to Decree 212 of the Ministry of Transport.
  • If the user has declared the value of the transported goods, the company must respond for total loss. For this, the baggage declaration form must be filled before traveling, which should be available in the local ticketing stations.

Plane

  • Airlines must respect the terms offered and agreed. This means the flight must leave at the stated schedule, the offered flight services must be met, the informed price should be respected and accurate and timely information should be delivered.
  • If, due to weather conditions, security or force majeure, a flight is cancelled or late, the client has the right to receive a refund for the ticket or agree with the airline on changing the flight date. Nevertheless, the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (Civil Aeronautic General Direction) will ultimately determine if the delay is justified or not.
  • The customer can get a refund for the ticket and/or agree with the airline on: continuing the trip with the anticipated delay, changing the contracted airline under the same conditions or other conditions agreed by mutual agreement.
  • Regarding the cancellation of a flight when it is the direct responsibility of the airline, customers can demand their passenger assistance rights, which are getting a refund for the paid fare or boarding on the next available flight.
  • In the latter case, the airline must also ensure as a minimum and at no cost to the passenger: meals, accommodation, phone calls, transportation to and from the airport and any necessary arrangements and facilities essential to continue the journey, if a confirmed connection has been missed.
  • The airline is also responsible for keeping the passenger’s luggage in a good state and must return it safely.

Source: Servicio Nacional del Consumidor (Sernac) (National Consumer Service)