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:
#FlyAI: Air India is glad to be able to offer its unparalled maximum baggage allowance again! 35 kgs for Business Class; 25 kgs for Economy Class! Leave your _weight_ of worries with us & enjoy your flight. For more information, please click on https://t.co/9jO8YiehiD pic.twitter.com/09hYvcxBcn
— Air India (@airindiain) September 25, 2020
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:
Government permits airlines to serve pre-packed snacks, meals and beverages on domestic flights and hot meals on international flights: Official order
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) August 28, 2020
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:
Staying connected onboard is the new feeling. Introducing Vistara Wi-Fi on our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner™ starting tonight on our flight to London Heathrow.
— Vistara (@airvistara) September 17, 2020
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:
Further widening the scope of international air connectivity.
Happy to announce that bilateral air bubble arrangement is now in place for flights between India & Oman, taking the number of such arrangements to 16.
Carriers of India & Oman will operate between the two countries.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) October 1, 2020
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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