Chinese airlines to offer payouts from 100 yuan for flight delays ... but only if they’re longer than four hours

Forty-two carriers have detailed their flight delay policies, with 34 offering cash compensation for delays not caused by weather, emergencies or accidents

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 4:17pm

Passengers flying with 34 Chinese airlines can expect to be paid between 100 yuan (HK$112) and 400 yuan if their flights are delayed for at least four hours.

These airlines are among 42 that have given details of their flight delay and cancellation policies, after new rules requiring them to do so took effect this year. The details were released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China in a memo on January 6.

According to the memo, most airlines had agreed to offer compensation of up to 400 yuan for flight delays.

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But delays caused by external factors such as poor weather conditions, emergencies or accidents would not be covered. In such cases, the airlines would help to arrange for accommodation and food instead, the memo said.

Major airlines including Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines,will compensate each passenger 200 yuan if a flight is delayed for four to eight hours. Delays exceeding eight hours will see payouts of 400 yuan.

Compensation from mid-sized domestic carriers – including Shenzhen Airlines, Shandong Airlines, China Express Airlines and Eva Air – ranges between 100 yuan and 400 yuan.

Five carriers, most of them budget ones, will not offer payouts for any type of delay. The five are Urumqi Air, West Air, China United Airlines, Spring Airlines and Air Guilin.

Three other airlines – Air Changan, Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines and 9 Air – will not offer payouts but will discuss other forms of compensation with passengers in the case of delays.

The release of the 42 airlines’ flight delay policies come after new civil aviation regulations took effect on January 1, requiring them to clearly state their flight delay and cancellation policies when passengers buy tickets.

According to the new rules, “such information should include whether passengers will be compensated when there is a delay, for example the compensation amount, conditions, and ways of compensation”.

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It is unclear whether carriers will be punished if they do not follow the new rules.

The regulations were put into place after the civil aviation authority admitted last year that the average delay of flights from Chinese airports in 2015 was 21 minutes.

A report released on Monday by Chinese flight statistics firm Variflight said the average flight delay at all mainland airports last year was 33 minutes, with an average of 70.4 per cent of departures taking off on time.

Three of China’s airlines are ranked among the world’s five worst for delays, according to a Bloomberg report citing information on international flight statistics website FlightStats.

The average rate of flights leaving on time was 30.3 per cent for Hainan Airlines, 32.73 per cent for Air China and 35.8 per cent for China Eastern Airlines, the report said.