Airlines will not be allowed to put more than 10% seats under the “privileged” category for which they can charge the fliers separately.
Unhappy with some airlines putting a price tag on pre-booking of almost all seats, aviation minister Ajit Singh has directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to frame rules that would put a 10% cap on the reserved seat category.
“We will not let airlines inconvenience passengers in the guise of ancillaries,” Singh told HT.
On April 29, aviation ministry allowed airlines to unbundle charges of services such as preferential seating, meals, snacks, drinks (except drinking water), the use of lounges, baggage, the carriage of sports equipment and musical instruments, and the treatment of valuable items.
The decision, the ministry hoped, would bring down the base fare as fliers would only be charged for the services they wanted. But with some airlines tagging almost all seats as preferential, passengers have been crying foul.
“The cost of flying has actually increased. The base fare hasn’t come down and other than frequent flyers, who travel with a single hand bag or bag less, all others would have to pay for services they use,” said Rajji Rai, advisor to the Travel Agents Association of India.
Airlines are now charging anywhere between Rs 200-Rs 1500 for seat reservation. Last Friday, ministry called a meeting of airlines and asked carriers to limit such seats.
“We are examining the issue and will send a report to the aviation ministry,” said DGCA chief Arun Mishra.