Air passengers will soon have a reason to smile with the government proposing a cap on ticket cancellation charges, increased compensation for denied boarding and steep reduction in excess baggage fee levied by airlines.
Suggesting a slew of passenger-centric measures, the Civil Aviation Ministry said airlines will have to refund all statutory taxes in case of flight cancellations. Aviation regulator DGCA has proposed that “under no circumstances the cancellation charges be more than the basic fare” and carriers cannot levy additional charge to process the refund.
In case of flight cancellations announced within 24 hours of departure, the compensation amount has been enhanced to up to Rs 10,000. This apart, refunds will also be applicable on all fares, including promotional and special rates.
“It shall also be the prerogative of passenger to decide whether to get cash refund or hold the amount in credit.”
In case of checked-in baggage, the airlines would be charging Rs 100 per kilogram for baggage weight in excess of 15 kg till 20 kg. At present, Rs 300 is levied on every kilogram of baggage beyond the 15-kg limit.
Only Air India allows free baggage up to 23 kg.
With regard to denied boarding, mainly due to overbooking, the government has proposed compensation up to Rs 20,000 subject to certain conditions.
Besides, the Ministry has proposed measures to help passengers with reduced mobility.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the measures are being proposed as there have been complaints from passengers that issues are not getting resolved within a reasonable time.
To bring in the new measures, the DGCA has suggested changes to three civil aviation requirements and to an air transport circular. They would be put up for public consultations before taking a final decision.
In January-March period, 10 Indian carriers accounted for a total of 18,512 delayed flights, according to the data presented in Parliament during the Budget session.
Of this, budget carrier Indigo alone had 5,426 delayed flights, followed by full service carrier Jet Airways with 5,040 flights. National carrier Air India also had 3,111 delayed flights, while low-cost domestic carrier Spicejet had 2,205 delayed flights, according to the data.