Bad news for fliers: Airline passengers, wait for big benefits; Modi govt puts this plan on hold
The government had notified a draft charter in May this year that had many passenger-friendly proposals.
Even as the Indian aviation sector has recorded an unprecedented growth rate in the last few years, domestic airlines are facing financial crunch due to intense competition and high jet fuel prices. This rising financial burden of the airlines seems to have taken a toll over passenger-friendly changes proposed by the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government had notified a draft charter in May this year that had many passenger-friendly proposals. However, financially bleeding airlines have forced the government to put the proposals on the back burner, according to a report by Hindustan Times. The charter had new proposed rules related to ticket bookings, flight delay, baggage loss or damage among others.
Two aviation ministry officials have confirmed the development to the English daily, which claimed today that the airlines objected to a number of provisions including the free correction in names and the cancellation compensation given to the fliers.
Check out the key features of the Draft Passenger Charter Defining Rights for air Passengers:
Delays and Cancellations:
* When flight is expected to be delayed for more than 4 hrs from the published scheduled time departure or previously revised departure time (communicated more than 24 hours prior to original scheduled departure time), airlines to offer an option of full refund of ticket to the passenger
* When delay is more than 24 hrs from published scheduled time of departure and involves flight to fly on the next day i.e. beyond 0000 hours, passenger to be offered free-of-charge hotel accommodation (including transfers).
* Airlines to compensate passengers for missing connecting flights:
** If delay more than 3 hours: INR 5,000
** If delay between 4 and 12 hours: INR 10,000
** If delay more than 12 hours: INR 20,000
* When the flight is stationed on the tarmac for more than 60 minutes, sufficient and free-of-charge hot snacks and beverages are to be provided to the passengers, and b) when the flight is stationed on the tarmac for more than 90 minutes plus no possibility of departure in next 30 minutes, passengers must be de-boarded
* In case of flight cancellation and when passenger is informed of the flight cancellation less than two weeks before and up to 24 hrs of the scheduled departure time, the airline must offer an alternate flight allowing the passenger to depart within two hours of the booked scheduled departure time or refund the ticket, as acceptable to the passenger, and b) in case the passenger is not informed up to 24 hours of the scheduled departure time, the airlines must refund the full value of the air ticket.
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* Passenger dies or undergoes bodily injuries onboard an aircraft: Limit of liability to be paid by the airline must be same for both international and domestic passengers
* Baggage lost, delayed, or damaged: a) Limit of liability to be paid by the airline to be the same for both international and domestic passengers, and b) the minimum compensation will be as follows:Rs. 3,000 per kg for loss of baggage, Rs. 1,000 per kg for delay and Rs. 1,000 per kg for damage of baggage
* In case of ticket cancellation, airline not to levy any additional charge for correction in name of the same person when name correction is required up to three characters only and when error in the name spelling is pointed out by the passenger to the airline within 24 hours of making a reservation
* Cancellation charges must be printed prominently in the ticket itself in a minimum font size of 12 and not as fine print. This information must also be provided as part of the reservation and ticket documentation.
* Under no circumstance will the airline (including the online or offline agent) levy cancellation charges that total more than the basic fare plus fuel surcharge
* Passenger allowed Lock-in option for 24 hours(after booking ticket) in which the passenger can cancel or amend the ticket without any additional charges.
* Airlines to have seats that are designated as acceptable for persons with disabilities free of charge, which will remain blocked until close to the time of departure
* All airports must provide the following medical facilities at the airport: Medical doctor – available at all hours the airport is operational, Ambulance, minimum medical support (including oxygen cylinders and defibrillators), trained medical personnel, Standard Operating Procedures to care for medical emergencies for both inbound and outbound passengers
* Airports must provide meet-and-greet facilities for all passengers
* Airports must provide toilets outside departure and arrival terminals
* Airports/ airlines must provide minimum one Helpdesk for passengers
* Airports must provide passengers with free 30-minutes Wi-Fi services
* Airports must provide affordable F&B outlets
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