Every single time when we plan our trip that involves flying, the first thing that comes to our mind is expenses. No matter how quick and convenient it is, the skyrocketing prices are sometimes beyond our budget. Considering that, we plan our trip and book tickets in advance, but somehow whatever we do, we end up paying a lot more than expected.
Worry not! The government of India has proposed a rather laudable set of aviation rules which will work wonders for the passengers. Starting from increased compensation for passengers, reduced cancellation chargers, and a streamlined process for refunds- the government took care of several woes.
Here’s a sneak peek;
No extra charges to process refunds
“Under no circumstances, the cancellation charge shall be more than the basic fare.”
To process the refunds, airlines shall not levy any additional charges on the passenger. Furthermore, the airline must refund all the statutory taxes and user development fees, airport development fees, passenger service fee (PSF) to the passengers if they have proposed cancellation or didn’t avail the service.
According to the current standards, airlines only return the PSF on non-utilisation and cancellation of tickets.
Reduced extra baggage fee
“The limit to be increased to 20 kg per person with just INR 100 to be charged if exceeded.”
Until now, one person could only carry 15 kg, after which INR 300 would be charged per kg. However, according to the latest policy, the limit must be exceeded to 15-20kg per person and that passenger will be charged Rs 100 per kg for excess baggage less than 20 kg.
Direct refunds from airline
“A 15-day direct refund cycle.”
More often than not, we book our tickets through a third party and not directly from the airline’s website. In such a case the onus of refund lies with the agent and not with the airline, but the government proposed otherwise.
Since these agents are appointed by the airline, the refund shall be generated by the airline and must be executed within 15 working days in case of domestic travel and 30 working days in case of international travel.
Furthermore, the option of holding the refund amount in “credit shell” by the airline shall be the prerogative of the passenger and not a default practice of the airline. The proposal also ensures that the refund on taxes and fees will be applicable for all types of fares offered by the airline, including promos, special fares and where the basic fare is non-refundable.
“Higher compensation to be offered to passengers for denying boarding.”
If the airlines deny passenger boardings due to overbooking, they have to offer an instant compensation. However, the proposal states that no compensation will be paid if the airline arranges an alternate flight that departs within one hour of the original departure time.
Compensation up to 400% of booked one-way fare along with fuel charges, subject to a maximum of INR 20,000 in case airline arranges alternative flight scheduled to depart beyond 24 hours. In case the passenger do not opt for the alternative flight, they must be given the proposed compensation. However, no compensation will be offered if they’ve been informed 2 weeks in advance.
Professional programs for airport personnel
“Training programs for security personnel, customs and immigration departments.”
The aim is to train all professionals engaged with customer service so that they are sensitised and aware in the sense of assisting persons with disability or reduced mobility. In these programs, the professionals will be well briefed about their responsibilities.
This long-awaited civil aviation policy has been cleared by the cabinet on Wednesday (15th June 2016). The proposed amendments were uploaded on the website of Directorate General of Civil Aviation and were thoroughly discussed with the airlines.