The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday issued an order allowing domestic flight operators to offer discounted fares to passengers carrying no baggage or only cabin luggage.
"As part of airline baggage policy, scheduled airlines will be allowed to offer free baggage allowance as well as 'zero baggage/no check-in baggage fares'," the DGCA order read.
As per the current norms, passengers are allowed to carry cabin luggage up to 7 kg and check-in luggage up to 15 kg. Passengers with luggage exceeding the check-in limit have to pay extra for each kg. No concession is awarded if a passenger only has cabin baggage. However, the airlines can now offer concession in flight tickets if passengers do not have check-in luggage.
The concession will be subject to the condition that passengers booking under such scheme are made aware of the applicable charges, should they bring check-in baggage to the airline counter. The order also said that such charges should be reasonable and communicated to the passenger under full disclosure.
Services such as preferential seating, refreshment charges, check-in baggage charges, sports and musical equipment handling charges, use of airline lounges and fees for special declaration of valuable baggage—will all be unbundled and charged separately on an opt-in basis.
"On the basis of various feedback received, it is felt that many times these services provided by the airlines may not be required by the passengers while travelling. Considering the fact that unbundling of services and charges thereto has the potential to make basic fare more affordable and provide the consumer with an option of paying for the services which he/she wishes to avail, it has been decided by the government to allow these services to be unbundled and charged separately on opt-in basis," NDTV quotes DGCA as saying.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had raised the upper and lower limit on domestic airfare by 10 to 30 per cent while allowing flights to operate at 80% capacity of the pre-pandemic levels. However, the cap placed on airfare will only be effective until normal services resume. This means that the new tariff rules for domestic flights will be enforced when the fare bands introduced last May—that had set a price floor and ceiling on all routes based on approximate flight duration—are withdrawn.
Bands or no bands, the steps were taken by the government since domestic flights resumed operation on May 25 have been aimed at helping the aviation sector, which was deeply impacted by one of the harshest lockdowns in the world and the subsequent travel restrictions that continue to limit occupancy and cost companies significantly.