CAB sets 10% cap on airline overbooking for domestic flights

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 6) — The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has set a 10% airline overbooking limit in the domestic air transportation sector, effective Sept. 20.

Under Board Resolution No. 2 (SBM 01-07-11-2023), airlines' option to overbook domestic scheduled air transportation services is suspended during declared national holidays, special non-working holidays, and long weekends.

Overbooking means an airline sells more tickets for a flight than the plane's seating capacity.

"The suspension of overbooking in the domestic sector will add another layer of safeguard against abuse of overbooking, especially during 'peak seasons' where more passengers are expected to travel, on top of the built-in safeguard against abuse of overbooking,” the CAB said in the resolution.

It also required airlines “to improve their offer of amenities to prospective volunteers who could be willing to give up their seats, with the end in view that no passenger shall be denied boarding against his or her will.”

AirAsia's Communications and Public Affairs Country Head First Officer Steve Dailisan explained that overbooking is a common practice globally, but airlines should be responsible when doing it.

"We look at the routes, we look at the no-show rate doon sa mga route na 'yon and see kung mataas yong [if there’s a high] no-show rate at a certain route, at a certain time," he said. "We do overbook, but we do not exceed CAB's limit."

"There are days na it's not 10%, but five seats, five to 10 seats lang [only]," Dailisan added. "But during holidays and during long weekends, since Filipinos plan ahead ‘di ba their travels, so most likely they'll show up at the airport and fly to their destination so we do not overbook."

Reagan Fernandez, a passenger who was on an overbooked flight to Davao just a week ago, expressed dismay over the experience.

"Haba ng pila, hassle lahat, hassle yong nangyayari," he said. "Nag-antay ng ilang days din, two days, three days ganun, mahirap kasi minsan wala silang binibigay, biscuit lang [at] kape."

"'Yong mga hindi taga rito sa Manila, nahihirapan, wala silang kumbaga accommodation na matutuluyan talaga e nakaupo lang sa sahig," Fernandez added.

[Translation: The lines were long, and everything was a hassle. We waited for around two or three days, and it was a difficult experience because they didn’t offer us anything apart from biscuits and coffee. Those who are not from Manila had a hard time because they didn't have a place to stay, they just sat on the floors.]

The resolution will take effect 15 days after its circulation, and a copy will be deposited to the UP Law Center Office of the National Administrative Register.