AirAsia India’s plans to charge for check-in baggage has hit a regulatory hurdle. The aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the Tata group-backed start-up to stop charging passengers for check-in baggage and has summoned its top management on Wednesday.
Indian budget carriers charge for meals, preferred seats and extra luggage but allow 15 kg free check-in baggage, something which AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes had said they too will allow when he was here last July.
However, AirAsia India, which opened bookings on May 30, was charging Rs. 199 for luggage up to 15 kg and Rs. 799 for sports equipment up to 15 kg. It was charging between Rs. 300-600 for preferred seats. Budget carriers charging for check-in baggage is a common practice the world over.
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“We have ordered them to immediately stop charging for baggage and remove it (the charges) from their website,” a senior DGCA official said. “Unbundling of services is allowed but for that the operator has to first submit the proposal to the DGCA as per Circular 3 of 2013. We have asked them for an explanation,” he said. The DGCA will, however, not take any action on tickets that have already been sold. AirAsia India did not offer comments for the story.
The airline has also made cancelled tickets non-refundable.
The airline, meanwhile, said it had sold out 25,000 promo seats within 48 hours of opening for bookings.