Fliers are concerned that the government’s decision to allow airlines to charge for certain services will mean not just higher airfares but also long check-in queues and flight delays because of inadequate infrastructure at airports.
On Monday, the civil aviation ministry announced that domestic carriers could charge separately for services such as check-in baggage and seat preferences, in the hope that it would reduce the base fare of air tickets and that only those using these services will be charged for it.
Passengers’ associations, however, feel the aviation sector lacks the infrastructure to pull off such a policy. “Will airlines be able to cater to fliers with different kinds of baggage in a short period of time?” said Milan Zatakia, national vice-president of Air Passengers’ Association of India.
The concept works in the US as airports and airlines there are equipped to offer customised solutions, he said.
“Another problem is that Indians are new fliers and rarely aware of new rules. So there could be arguments between passengers and airline staff, causing delays,” Zatakia said.
Aviation blogs have raised concerns about higher airfares. Mumbai-based blogger AJ dismissed the government’s belief that this move would reduce base fares. “Airlines will use the regulation to top-up existing ticket prices instead of reducing fares,” he wrote in travel blog, Live from a lounge.