One of the biggest inconveniences and potential money losses you may encounter when you purchase an airline ticket is when it turns out something happens and you can’t take the flight. After the first 24 hours, unless you’ve spent the big bucks on a refundable ticket or bought it on a Southwest flight, your options are very limited if something happens and you can’t go.
We went over when/where/how you can transfer your airline ticket to someone else in this post, but the bottom line is that opportunities to do so, especially in the U.S., are few and far between. This doesn’t appear to be a federal law as much as the rules made by each airline.
Interestingly, both Chile and Peru have rules that allow people to change the names on airline tickets. There are some caveats such as only being able to do so up to two times per year per company, and only until 24 hours before departure time (I assume that’s to negate the chance of a large scale reseller black market that could negatively affect airlines’ dynamic pricing [i.e. buy multiple tickets during good sales and then undercut their airlines’ going rates when the sale is finished]), but at least there are options deemed legal by their respective federal governments. And now Brazil is also considering similar legislation.
A bill has been introduced to the Brazilian Senate that would potentially allow the purchaser of an airline ticket to transfer ownership of the ticket up to 72 hours before the date/time of travel. A copy of the bill is online. It’s written in Portuguese; here’s the translation of the bulk of it:
The purpose of this bill is to allow the purchaser of a ticket to airline ticket can transfer ownership to another person up to 72 hours before the date of travel. It is very common to come across situations in which the ticket purchaser ticket has a trip scheduled and, for personal or work-related reasons, will no longer be able to travel. Today, unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer the ticket to another person. Note that each airline has a cancellation policy specific, which can refund the total or partial value of the ticket. in most of cases, it is non-refundable, that is, the acquirer will lose the money spent on the purchase of the ticket. This is because the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), through the Resolution nº 138/2010, does not allow the exchange of air tickets with transfer of name, as it is considered personal and non-transferable.
ANAC claims security reasons for not allowing the transfer once that the change of name to a completely different one signals that there was a change of passenger, something that is prohibited by airlines. In general, the company airline checks during check-in and boarding that the first and last names are correct. However, I think that the proposal to change the ticket exchange rule it is possible to be operated by airlines without affecting the rules of flight safety. The fact is that, today, only airlines gain by harming the necessary balance that must exist in the consumption relationship to avoid abuse. This is certainly one of the reasons airlines are among the champions of complaints in Procon for frequently disrespecting the rights of consumers. I cite as an example the complaints on the Portal Consumidor.gov.br about transport during the first quarter of this year, which almost doubled compared to the same period of 2021. Between January and March 2022, there were 43,605 complaints against 22,458 registrations last year – growth of 94%. The data were released by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. It is important to understand that the Constitution of the Republic of 1988, not less called Citizen Constitution, included in an innovative way, the protection of the consumer as a fundamental right in its art. 1, III, art. 5, XXXII, art. 24, V and a its defense as a principle of the economic order in art. 170, V; proof that it actually exists concern for the vulnerable and that intervention is possible, due and necessary of the State in private consumer relations to guarantee defense and due application of your rights. The controversial Resolution 138/2010 is an administrative act by ANAC, infralegal norm, therefore, it cannot prevail over Law 8078/90 - Code of Consumer Protection, as it is a public policy rule, which protects the interests and the rights of consumers, who injured trigger the Judiciary in search of compensation for the damage incurred. The proposition I present here is reasonable and possible to implement. Unforeseen events happen and must be taken into account by airlines. In view of the above, I ask for the support of the noble peers for the approval of this Project of law. Session room, August 08, 2022
Based on the wording of the bill, the government’s concern is that of security. However several other airlines around the world have already shown that ticket transfers can be done easily and safely. Meanwhile, without the ability to transfer tickets, airlines continue to have the upper hand – they get to keep consumers’ money whether considers are available to accept their product or not.
For the sake of those flying in Brazil, I hope the bill eventually becomes law. I would love to see similar legislation happen here in the U.S., but the realist in me knows it probably wouldn’t ever happen.
Feature Photo: pxhere
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