Good News for Frequent Flyers! Govt Proposes Eight Major Changes

The government received complaints by passengers over cancellation of over 4,000 flights in 2015.

2 min read
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has proposed several changes in the rules. (Photo: Reuters)

On Saturday, the government proposed a slew of steps that will give fliers reasons to cheer.

The changes in the rules mooted by the Civil Aviation Ministry come against the backdrop of complaints by passengers over flight cancellations and 63,400 delays in 2015.

1. Refund is Airline’s Duty

Existing: Refund, in cases where tickets booked through travel agents, is left to such agencies and passengers.

Proposed: Onus of refund must be with the airline and ought to be done within 15 working days in case of domestic travel and 30 working days in case of international travel.

2. Service Charges to be Refunded

Existing: Airlines shall return all passenger service charges collected upon cancellation.

Proposed: Airlines shall refund all statutory taxes and user development and airport development fee.

3. Penalty Won’t Exceed Basic Fare

Existing: No express provision for refund on tickets sold as promos or as non-refundable basic fare.

Proposed: Penalty on no-shows and cancellations cannot exceed the basic fare and all taxes and fee shall have to be refunded.

4. Penalty for Cancellation

Existing: In order to minimise “no shows” by passengers, appropriate penalty is allowed.

Proposed: Provision to be deleted to ensure “no show” passengers get refund in accordance with the provisions for cancellations.

5. Cancellation Charge Won’t Exceed Basic Fare

Existing: No mention of what the quantum of penalty can be upon cancellation and no-shows.

Proposed: Cancellation charges cannot be more than the basic fare and no additional charges can be levied to process refunds.

6. Financial Compensation for Denied Boarding

Existing: Rs 2,000 or value of ticket for up to one hour; Rs 3,000 or value of ticket for over one hour and up to two hours; Rs 4,000 or value of ticket for more than two hours.

Proposed: No compensation if alternate flight is arranged within one hour; 200 percent of booked basic fare plus fuel charge subject to a maximum of Rs 10,000 if flight arranged within 24 hours; and 400 percent of booked basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to a maximum of Rs 20,000 if flight arranged beyond 24 hours. Same applies if passenger declines alternative flight.

7. Provide Facilities for Disabled

Existing: No provision regarding facilitating persons with disabilities at ill-equipped airports.

Proposed: Airports where ambulift or aerobridge is not available, provision must be made for towable ramp by the airport operator.

8. Reduce Extra Baggage Fare

Existing: Most of scheduled domestic airlines provide free checked-in baggage allowance up to 15 kg after which the charges are Rs 300 per kg.

Proposed: Airlines will be asked to keep variable checked-in baggage fare between 15-20 kg at a maximum of Rs 100 per kg.

(With agency inputs)

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