Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday, February 27, released a “passenger charter” which lays down the rights and entitlements of air travellers in India. Reportedly, the new charter amended the rules of charges incurred by travellers on cancellation and rescheduling of air travel.
What do the new rules say?
According to the new passenger charters rules, delay or cancellation in flight operations can be compensated either with a free meal or full refund of the ticket. If your flight has been delayed by two to six hours, the airlines will have to offer free meals and refreshments. If the delay is over six hours, then the passenger is entitled to an alternate flight or full refund of the ticket. However, if the flight is delayed for more than six hours when scheduled between 8 pm to 3 am, the passenger would have to be provided with free accommodation.
“The airlines must inform about flight cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure and arrange alternate flights or refund,” said the charter, released at the Aviation Conclave 2019, reported The News Minute. Moreover, if a person misses a connecting flight, the passenger should be given compensation of up to Rs 10,000, which is subject to fulfilling certain criteria.
The new charter now states that an individual is entitled to cancel any ticket without paying any cancellation amount if it is done within a day of the booking. However, the same policy will not be applied to tickets which are booked seven days prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight.
However, if the ticket is booked within seven days and has been cancelled on the same day, then the airlines have to refund additional charges like the tax, user development fee, airport development fee and passenger service. Moreover, for name changes of passengers, corrections can be made without paying any additional charges, provided if it is within a day of booking. Previously, name changes were considered as cancellation where a passenger had to book a new ticket.
In the case of an overbooked flight, the airline has to provide an alternate flight within one hour of the original flight, which denies boarding. If an alternate flight is not provided, then the airline has to compensate the passenger up to 400% of booking price (one way), if s/he fulfils certain criteria. In case of damage or loss of baggage, the airline has to pay compensation up to Rs 350 per kg or up to Rs 20,000.
“A minimum benchmark has been set. We want passengers to have world-class flying experience. This would be beneficial for the airlines too in the long-run,” said Prabhu. All the new measure have been set in place to ensure more ease and comfort for air-travellers who spend large sums of money on travelling.