The Ministry of Civil Aviation has recently released the ‘Passenger Charter‘ for Air Travellers. Among other things, this document lists the rights of a passenger in case of delays, diversions, cancellations and other scenarios.
In case of Flight Delays
The charter lists three possible scenarios of flight delays. One is when there is a delay after the passenger has checked-in. In this case, the airline is supposed to offer free meals & refreshments during the waiting time. The 2nd case is when there is a delay of more than 6 hours. The passenger rights in this case include the right to be informed the rescheduled time 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure and arrange an alternate flight within 6 hours. If an alternate flight cannot be arranged, then the passenger shall be given a full refund. The 3rd case is when the delay is for more than 24 hours or more than 6 hours for flights scheduled between 8pm & 3am. The passenger is entitled for free hotel accommodation in this case.
In case of Flight Cancellation
In the case of cancellations, the charter lists two different scenarios and the compensation or refund rights that a passenger is entitled to. Broadly speaking, if the passenger is informed less than two weeks before but, up to 24 hours before the departure, then the airline has to arrange an alternate flight or offer a full refund. In case the passenger the not informed as per these provisions, then the airline has to pay a compensation in the event of missed connecting flights.
In case of Over-Booking
When the number of passengers who show up for the flight well within time is more than the number of seats available, it is termed as over-booking. In such a case, the airlines must first ask for volunteers willing to give up their seats in exchange of benefits as offered by the airlines. In case there are no volunteers, then the rights of the passengers are listed in the charter in two different scenarios.
What if the Passenger cancels the ticket?
Among other things, the charter makes it clear that the passenger must be clearly informed by the airline about the amount of refund in case of a cancellation. In any case, when a ticket is cancelled, the airline must refund all statutory taxes, user development fee, airport development fee, passenger service fee. This is also applicable in case of tickets sold during promos or with special fares where the basic fare is non-refundable.
No-charge Cancellation or Amendment within 24 hours
The charter also makes it clear that the passenger has the right to cancel or amend the ticket without any additional charges within 24 hours of booking the ticket.
Rights of Passengers with Disabilities
The charter also lists the rights of passengers with disabilities. The passengers with disabilities must inform the airlines about their requirements 48 hours prior to the departure. No airline can refuse to carry the passenger along with assistive aids/devices, escort etc. In case the passenger is denied boarding because of the disability, the airlines must specify the reasons in writing.
In case of loss of Baggage
The charter also notes that in case of loss, delay or damage to baggage, the liability of the airline is limited to 1131 SDR (or about 1570 USD) per passenger in case of international carriage and Rs. 20,000 per passenger in the case of domestic carriage.
The charter also mentions that all airports are equipped to provide free wi-fi services.
What about Grievances?
In case the passenger is not satisfied with the resolution provided by the airline, then he/she can lodge a grievance on the Air Sewa portal.
Published with the permission from Factly