POSTED BY August 5, 2019 COMMENTS (27)ON
In the last few years, the complaints from airline passengers have gone up with respect to issues like flights cancellations, loss of baggage and delays. Most of the times, the passengers find themselves with no help and bad attitude from airlines staff and the company itself.
Last month, I was travelling from Ahmedabad to Pune and my flight was scheduled to leave at 10:30 pm in night. However, the flight was delayed. First, it showed 30 min delay, and soon it stretched to 2.5 hours.
I along with many other passengers had no information about the delay. I also heard a passenger murmuring – “Will they provide us snacks?” after a 2-hour delay.
This made me think if an average airline passenger is aware about his/her rights in case of flight delay, cancellations or baggage loss?
Few months back, on 28th Feb 2019, a new airline passenger charger was announced by The Ministry of Civil Aviation which clearly defines the rights of travelers and liabilities of airlines that are operating in the domestic sector. It defines various important points and a guideline for passengers seeking redressal of their grievances, with regards to fares, flights, refunds, catering, and baggage, etc.
Before we start looking at all points, first as a passenger you should know various reasons why a flight gets cancelled or there is a delay! or for what matter a baggage is lost.
Now, Let’s look at various rights of airline passengers one by one.
Let’s first look at the delay of flights which is what happens most of the time. If your flight has been delayed beyond a limit, the airline will have to offer you refreshments and free meals (for passengers waiting at the airport). The table below defines this.
|Delayed (Block time)||Compensation|
|2 – 6 hours||Refreshments and meals|
|More than 6 hours||Refund of ticket fare or alternate flight|
|More than 6 hours if scheduled time of flight is between 8 pm-3 am||Refund of ticket fare or alternate flight plus Free Hotel Accommodation|
Note: Block time means the total time from the moment an aircraft first moves for the purpose of taking off until the moment it finally comes to arrival gate at the end of the flight. In simple words, it is a total travel time of flight.
Flights do get cancelled at times for various reasons like airlines mismanagement, weather conditions or other reasons.
There are two cases here.
Case 1: If the flight cancellation was informed to passenger before 24 hours
In cases where the flight cancellation was communicated to the passenger well in advance (before 24 hours), the airlines have to either arrange for an alternative flight or give full refund to the passenger, as acceptable by passenger.
Previously, airlines used to cancel the flights at the last minute or before few hours of departure and just refunded back the ticket money, which is history now.
Case 2: If the flight cancellation was not informed to passenger before 24 hours
If flight is cancelled within 24 hours of departure (or last-minute) or the passenger misses the connecting flight because the previous flight was delayed (on the same ticket), in that case, the airline has to provide you extra compensation of up to Rs 10,000 apart from full refund or alternate flight.
So imagine you are at the airport (or on the way to airport) and the flight is cancelled. In, this case, you will get 2 things. First is, either of a full refund or an alternate flight option (you can choose any of them) and the second thing is a compensation of up to Rs 10,000 depending on how long was your flight.
|Flight travel time (Block time)||Additional Compensation (apart from refund or alternate flight)|
|Upto 1 hour||Rs. 5000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less.|
|1 – 2 hour||Rs. 7,500 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less.|
|More than 2 hours||Rs. 10,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less.|
Few Important points
Many times, airlines overbook the tickets in assumption that some passengers will not turn up or cancel at last minute if that happens and you are denied boarding the airplane then you can claim as follows if you have confirmed ticket,
Scenario # 1: If the airline arranges for an alternative flight within 1 hour of the scheduled departure of the original ticket, in that case, you can’t claim any compensation.
Scenario # 2: If an airline is not able to arrange for an alternative flight within 1 hour of the scheduled departure of original ticket, in that case, you are liable to get any of following 3 things
If you look at this new rule, it does a great justice to the passengers as the passengers had to spend a lot of money on book alternative flights at the last minute. Now the compensation is fair which helps passengers.
In case of domestic flights, the airline is liable to pay you up to Rs. 350 per kg or up to Rs. 20,000 in case of loss/damage/delay of baggage
In case of international flights, the airline is liable to pay you up to 19 SDR per kg or up to 1131 SDR in case of loss/damage/delay of baggage. SDR here is a kind of currency value which is accepted internationally.
Now you can make changes in the ticket (corrections in names of passenger) within 24 hours of booking the ticket. Earlier after booking, any correction in name of passenger was generally denied by airlines and was treated as cancellation. This will give relief to customers as at times there are name mistakes in tickets or change of plans.
Case #1 – If tickets are cancelled within 24 hours of booking tickets
Earlier, canceling a ticket cost the passengers a huge penalty even if it was done immediately after booking the ticket. But with the new rules, if the ticket is cancelled within 24 hours of booking (provided there is a more than 7 days difference between booking date and departure date) then you will not be charged any additional charges.
Case #2 – If tickets are cancelled after 24 hours of booking tickets
In this case, following is the rule
DGCA has defined rules of refund and claim settlement for all airlines. If you have paid cash for your booking then you will receive the refund & compensation in cash at the counter. And if you have made payment via credit or debit card then the amount will be credited in your bank account within seven days.
You can use Air Sewa, a grievance redressal system to take help on any issue related to civil aviation in India. We hope that these changes in the airlines’ rules will now help passengers a lot and will make things fair for them.
Do let us know if you have any queries, we will solve it in the comments section.
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