International and Domestic Flights: 5 Major Relaxations for Passengers

From a complete shutdown of international and domestic flights in March and April to reaching almost 60% of its pre-COVID flight capacity in October, India has come a long way. 

While nearly 20 lakh people have been repatriated under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) since May, more than 1 crore passengers have flown on domestic flights so far.

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During this period of time, several relaxations have been provided to the airlines to boost domestic and international traffic. Take a look at five such major relaxations:

1.Increase in domestic flight frequency and capacity

When domestic services resumed on May 25 after a gap of two months, they were only allowed to operate at 33 percent of their capacity. However, domestic airlines have now been allowed to operate 60 percent of their pre-COVID flight capacity

Along with this, several cities initially put a cap on the number of incoming flights, most notably Kolkata. However, these restrictions have now been relaxed, albeit in a staggered manner. 

2.Change in Baggage rules

Airlines have now been allowed to implement their own check-in baggage policies instead of one check-in bag of up to 20 kg per passenger — a rule that was put in place when domestic flights commenced on May 25. Passengers can now carry up to 25 kg in economy class and 35 kg in business class while travelling with Air India:

Vistara has also updated its baggage rules. Check them here….

3.On-board meal services

Airlines are now allowed to serve pre-packed meals, snacks, beverages on domestic flights and hot meals on international flights:

In the initial months of resumption of flight services, no meals were allowed on domestic flights while international flights were allowed to serve snacks and pre-packed cold meals.

4.Passengers can now get Wi-Fi service in flights

Vistara has become the first Indian airline to offer onboard Wi-Fi facility to its passengers. The complimentary service has been started in the Vistara flights between Delhi and London Heathrow with plans to introduce it on other routes as well:

Previously, international carriers that offered in-flight Wi-Fi had to switch off these services upon entering the Indian airspace.

5.Increase in Air Bubbles

If two countries have an air bubble arrangement, it allows airlines of both the countries to fly passengers between them based on certain eligibility criteria. With Unlock 5, new air bubbles have been announced with Bhutan, Oman and Kenya:

Now, India now has bilateral air bubble arrangements with 16 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Canada, France, Germany (under negotiation), Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Maldives, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, UAE, UK and the US. 

Stay tuned with us for all travel related updates!

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