Airlines will be penalised heavily if they deny boarding to passengers due to over booking of seats or fail to inform them of cancellation sin advance, according to new rules framed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Under the revised rules to come into effect from August 1, airlines will be liable to pay up to Rs 20,000 for denying boarding to passengers and up to Rs 10,000 for failing to inform in time about flight cancellations. HT had first reported on June 2 that the government was reviewing rules related to denied boarding and cancellation charges.
At present, passengers are entitled to a compensation of Rs 2,0004,000 if denied boarding. In such cases, an airline will have to pay “an amount equal to 200% of booked one-way basic fare plus fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs 10,000, in case it arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure,” an order issued by DGCA chief M Sathiyavathy said.
“An amount equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus fuel charge, subject to maximum of 20,000, in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart more than 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure. In case passenger does not opt for alternate flight, refund of full value of ticket and compensation equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of 20,000,” it said.
The move was welcomed as protective of consumer rights. “It is heartening to see the government step in to protect passenger rights,” said Rajji Rai, former chief of the Travel Agents Association of India.
If a passenger is not informed of flight cancellation 24 hours before the scheduled time of departure, the airline will have to provide compensation in“addition to there fund of air ticket” and up to “Rs 10,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time of more than two hours”, the order said. Blockhours refer to the time taken to complete a journey beginning the period when an aircraft push es back from its departure gate.