G.R. No. 138334, August 25, 2003, 409 SCRA 528
Petitioner contracted the services of respondent Caravan Travel and Tours International, Inc. to arrange and facilitate her booking, ticketing and accommodation in a tour dubbed Jewels of Europe. Pursuant to said contract, the travel documents and plane tickets were delivered to the petitioner who in turn gave the full payment for the package tour on June 12, 1991. Without checking her travel documents, petitioner went to NAIA on Saturday, June 15, 1991, to take the flight for the first leg of her journey from Manila to Hongkong. To petitioner’s dismay, she discovered that the flight she was supposed to take had already departed the previous day. She learned that her plane ticket was for the flight scheduled on June 14, 1991. She thus called up Menor to complain. Subsequently, Menor prevailed upon petitioner to take another tour- the British Pageant. Upon petitioner’s return from Europe, she demanded from respondent the reimbursement of the difference between the sum she paid for Jewels of Europe and the amount she owed respondent for the British Pageant tour.
Petitioner filed a complaint against respondent for breach of contract of carriage and damages alleging that her failure to join Jewels of Europe was due to respondent’s fault since it did not clearly indicate the departure date on the plane, failing to observe the standard of care required of a common carrier when it informed her wrongly of the flight schedule. For its part, respondent company, denied responsibility for petitioner’s failure to join the first tour, insisting that petitioner was informed of the correct departure date, which was clearly and legibly printed on the plane ticket. The travel documents were given to petitioner two days ahead of the scheduled trip. Respondent further contend that petitioner had only herself to blame for missing the flight, as she did not bother to read or confirm her flight schedule as printed on the ticket.
Whether or not Caravan Travel & Tours International Inc. is negligent in the fulfilment of its obligation to petitioner Crisostomo thus granting to the petitioner the consequential damages due her as a result of breach of contract of carriage.
Contention of petitioner has no merit. A contract of carriage or transportation is one whereby a certain person or association of persons obligate themselves to transport persons, things, or news from one place to another for a fixed price. Such person or association of persons are regarded as carriers and are classified as private or special carriers and common or public carriers. Respondent is not an entity engaged in the business of transporting either passengers or goods and is therefore, neither a private nor a common carrier. Respondent did not undertake to transport petitioner from one place to another since its covenant with its customers is simply to make travel arrangements in their behalf. Respondent’s services as a travel agency include procuring tickets and facilitating travel permits or visas as well as booking customers for tours.
The object of petitioner’s contractual relation with respondent is the service of arranging and facilitating petitioners booking, ticketing and accommodation in the package tour. In contrast, the object of a contract of carriage is the transportation of passengers or goods. It is in this sense that the contract between the parties in this case was an ordinary one for services and not one of carriage. Since the contract between the parties is an ordinary one for services, the standard of care required of respondent is that of a good father of a family under Article 1173 of the Civil Code. The evidence on record shows that respondent exercised due diligence in performing its obligations under the contract and followed standard procedure in rendering its services to petitioner. As correctly observed by the lower court, the plane ticket issued to petitioner clearly reflected the departure date and time, contrary to petitioner’s contention. The travel documents, consisting of the tour itinerary, vouchers and instructions, were likewise delivered to petitioner two days prior to the trip. Respondent also properly booked petitioner for the tour, prepared the necessary documents and procured the plane tickets. It arranged petitioner’s hotel accommodation as well as food, land transfers and sightseeing excursions, in accordance with its avowed undertaking. The evidence on record shows that respondent company performed its duty diligently and did not commit any contractual breach. Hence, petitioner cannot recover and must bear her own damage.
* Case digest by Paula Bianca Eguia, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018