Domestic airlines will continue to charge fliers extra for seat selection, excess check-in baggage and on-board meals. The civil aviation ministry has ruled out any changes to the policy, which was supposed to be reviewed in October.
“There is no need to review the policy. We have not received any complaints. It has been well received by both passengers and airlines,” Ajit Singh, civil aviation minister, told HT on Thursday.
In April, when the ministry permitted unbundling of airfares, it had set a 6-month review period for the policy. “The observation time was important as many felt that Indian fliers were not prepared to deal with this kind of pricing,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official.
Domestic airlines had reduced the free check-in baggage limit from 20kg to 15kg soon after the policy came into effect. Passengers were charged Rs250 for a kg for extra baggage. Airlines also began charging passengers up to Rs500 for large legroom seats and Rs300 for pre-booking window or aisle seats. Separate charges were introduced for carriage of fragile items such as musical instruments.
Aviation experts said the policy has failed to serve its prime objective. “Globally, the core focus of unbundling airfares has been to provide airlines alternative revenue channels so that basic price of an air ticket is not exorbitant. There have been no signs of reduction in base fares since the policy was introduced,” said a senior executive with an aviation think tank.