Passenger Files Lawsuit Against Zest Air and Manila International Airport Authority

Lawyer and former senatorial candidate, Samson Alcantara, 79,  has filed a P1.5 million damage suit against AirAsia Zest and the Manila International Airport Authority after he fainted at NAIA Terminal 4 due to heat exhaustion that ended up injuring his elbow on the morning of May 23. 

Image Source: Boy Wander
Alcantara filed a civil case at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court last week accusing AirAsia Zest and the Manila International Airport Authority of wilful breach of contractual and statutory obligations, to provide for the protection, safety, and convenience of the plaintiff, an airline passenger and senior citizen.

According to Alcantara, the check-in area at NAIA Terminal 4 was hot, congested, and no seats were provided. In addition, there were no dedicated senior citizen lanes. His five-page complaint suggested that the check-in at the terminal posed a serious danger to the safety and health of passengers but terminal users are left with no choice if they want to reach their destination.

Alcantara fainted at the airport on May 23 after he was forced to line up for two hours at the check-in counter. "The check-in area was hot, congested, and was not provided with seats," said Alcantara. "It did not have any senior citizens' express or priority lanes." He added that the incident that happened to him was not the first one. Last month, a passenger identified as Angelita Baroso bound for London fainted at NAIA Terminal 1 due to the unbearable heat resulting from the terminal's on-going rehabilitation. Alcantara filed the suit to "encourage other air travelers who suffered" in the same manner that he did to file similar cases that could set a precedent for the enforcement of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights.

In a text message sent to Rappler, Alcantara said that he wants "to make those airline authorities more responsible in the performance of their duties." He noted that should the relief that he is seeking be granted, it will serve as a lesson in prioritizing the welfare of passengers including the elderly.

In the lawsuit, Alcantara cited the Air Passenger Bill of Rights Section 9.2, Chaper III, which states that there must be at least one check-in counter per airline that prioritizes persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and persons requiring special assistance. If impractical, the air carriers must provide priority handling and processing for these types of passengers. The Air Passenger Bill of Rights came into effect in December 2012. Alcantara suggested that AirAsia Zest and the Manila International Airport Authority demonstrated "malevolence and callousness" in their use of the terminal's check-in area despite insufficient facilities and "widespread public outrage."

The lawsuit covers P1.1 million in civil damages and P200,000 in attorney's fees. Alcantara was on his way to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for a weekend trip with accompanying colleagues from the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law. While in line waiting to check-in, Alacantara "lost consciousness, fell on the floor, and sustained injuries in the head and left elbow." After being examined at the NAIA Clinic, he was brought to San Juan De Dios Hospital, where he remained until he was discharged three days later.

The Manila International Airport Authority issued a press statement claiming that Alcantara's fall was due to hunger. But Alcantara says that he "was not hungry on that occasion" and "has more than enough income to avoid hunger." Alcantara is a lecturer, practising lawyer, and bar reviewer. He leads the political party, the Social Justice Society, that first petitioned the High Court to declare the Priority Development Assistance Fund unconstitutional.

The heat being endured by both staff and passengers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport has even prompted President Aquino himself to issue a public apology. Additional air conditioning units are expected to be installed at the airport in August but the Manila International Airport Authority says that passengers and staff will need to endure the conditions until the new units arrive. The government cited procurement policies as the cause of the lengthy delays to acquire new air conditioning units.


  1. injured elbows + bumagok yung ulo dahil sa kapabayaan niyo. kawawa naman yung matanda.

  2. It's high time that the Manila International Airport Authority be made responsible for its ignorance and stupidity.
    Quite frankly, I'd also name the airport general manager in a suit, too.

  3. Philippine Airlines terminal 2 is not much better, I recently took a flight from there at 7 am and the the terminal was way too hot. Who designs these airport terminals with the sun beating down on passengers as they wait in line to board a flight? Clark airport is the same like a giant greenhouse. Surely its not rocket science this is a hot part of the world so keep the sun out ..........

  4. Believe me...Zest Air Asia is so diffcult to deal with. I'ven been waiting for my refund for double deductions made on my savings account and yet 2 months after, all that they can reply is that its being investigated, despite the fact that i have given them official record from my BDO acct.


Powered by Blogger.