In a move that will allow domestic flyers to travel for less, the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has allowed airlines to offer “no check-in baggage/hand baggage only” fare schemes.
What this means is that passengers travelling without checked-in bags will have the option of getting a lower fare while being entitled to carry a handbag weighing up to 7 kg free of charge.
At present, all domestic private airlines except national carrier Air India (AI) allow a flyer to carry up to 15 kgs of check-in baggage without any cost. AI allows its passengers to carry up to 23 kgs of check-in baggage free of cost.
Airlines such as SpiceJet, at present offer hand baggage-only fares, but had to take prior approval of the DGCA before launching any such scheme.
“Airlines are allowed to offer ‘no check-in baggage/hand baggage only’ fare scheme subject to the condition that the penalty to be imposed on a passenger, who avails such schemes, but turns up with baggage for check-in at airline counter, cannot exceed the amount of incentive offered compared to lowest fare,” the DGCA said in a Air Transport Circular on unbundling of services issued on November 8.
“The unbundled services must be provided on “opt-in” basis and not on “opt out” basis.”
As part of the unbundling of services, domestic airlines were allowed to charge from the customers for various facilities such as preferred seats, check-in baggage charges and use of lounges, by the regulator in April, 2015.