CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS LTD., petitioner,
vs. SPOUSES DANIEL VASQUEZ and MARIA LUISA MADRIGAL VASQUEZ, respondents.
[G.R. No. 150843. March 14, 2003]
In respondents’ return flight to Manila from Hongkong, they were deprived of their original seats in Business Class with their companions because of overbooking. Since respondents were privileged members, their seats were upgraded to First Class. Respondents refused but eventually persuaded to accept it. Upon return to Manila, they demanded that they be indemnified in the amount of P1million for the “humiliation and embarrassment” caused by its employees. Petitioner’s Country Manager failed to respond. Respondents instituted action for damages. The RTC ruled in favor of respondents. The Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC decision with modification in the award of damages.
Whether or not the petitioners (1) breached the contract of carriage, (2) acted with fraud and (3) were liable for damages.
(1) YES. Although respondents have the priority of upgrading their seats, such priority may be waived, as what respondents did. It should have not been imposed on them over their vehement objection.
(2) NO. There was no evident bad faith or fraud in upgrade of seat neither on overbooking of flight as it is within 10% tolerance.
(3) YES. Nominal damages (Art. 2221, NCC) were awarded in the amount of P5,000.00. Moral damages (Art.2220, NCC) and attorney’s fees were set aside and deleted from the Court of Appeals’ ruling.