New Airlines Charter – 6 important rules every passenger should know

POSTED BY Vandana Manwani ON August 5, 2019 COMMENTS (18)

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 any help and bad attitude from airlines staff and the company itself.

Last month, I was travelling from Ahmedabad to Pune and my flight was schedule 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?

Rights of airline passengers in case of flight delay, cancellation and 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 which 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.

  • Due to unoccupied seats to save their cost
  • Due to over bookings
  • Mechanical Issue
  • Technical Issue (server crash, system failure)
  • Natural Disasters like flood, cyclone, Earthquake etc.
  • Bad weather conditions
  • Political Disturbance/ Government regulations/ Civil War/ Strikes
  • Mistakes of Air Traffic Control (ATC)

Now, Let’s look at various rights of airlines passengers one by one.

1. Flight Delay

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 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 total travel time of flight.

2. Cancellation 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 full refund or an alternate flight option (you can choose any of them) and 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

  • If you have checked in already in the airport, the airline has to also provide you with refreshments as per waiting time.
  • You should have provided the contact information at the time of booking, else the airline is not liable to compensate you.
  • You will not be eligible to claim any compensation on delay or cancellation of flight due to reasons which are out of control of airlines like bad weather, political unrest, a natural disaster or labor disputes.
  • Airlines are not supposed to give compensation part if the delays or cancellations happens because of security risks, air traffic controller or metrological conditions.

3. Boarding denied due to over booking

Many times, airlines over book 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 scheduled departure of original ticket, in that case you can’t claim any compensation.

else

Scenario #2 : If airline is not able to arrange for an alternative flight within 1 hour of scheduled departure of original ticket, in that case you are liable to get any of following 3 things

  • 200% of booked one-way base-price + airline fuel charge, up to maximum of Rs 10,000 if the airline arranges for an alternate flight up to 24 hours from old scheduled departure
  • 400% of booked one-way base-price + airline fuel charge, up to maximum of Rs 20,000 if the airline arranges for an alternate flight after 24 hours from old scheduled departure
  • If you do not opt for the alternate flight, in that case you will get full refund of the ticket price paid + 400% of booked one-way base-price + airline fuel charge, up to maximum of Rs 20,000

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.

4. Loss of baggage or damage to baggage

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.

5. Change in the name of passenger within 24 hours of booking the ticket

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.

6. Cancellation of ticket

Case #1 – If tickets are cancelled within 24 hours of booking tickets

Earlier, cancelling a ticket costed the passengers 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

  • Airlines cannot put any cancellation charges for cancelling the tickets.
  • Airlines should refund all statutory taxes, user development fees, airport development fees, passenger service fees to you
  • Airlines can’t hold the refund in terms of credits forcefully. It’s not a default option now, however if passenger agrees to it, it can be done
  • Airlines have to clearly indicate the refund amount in case of cancellation in future.

DGCA has defined rules of refund and claim settlement for all airlines. If you have paid cash for your booking than 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.

Escalation of complaints

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 comments section.

18 replies on this article “New Airlines Charter – 6 important rules every passenger should know”

  1. Abdul Yasik says:

    Hi I have one doubt , july 28 i was reached madurai airport and i come to know my check-in luggage was missed at colombo airport , after i make complaints and send frequent mails after 8 days i got my luggage after 8 days in this case will any of this applicable loss/damage/delay of baggage

    1. Vandana Manwani says:

      Hi Abdul Yasik

      Thanks for your comment.’
      If Any mistake is made on your part then rules of loss/damage/delay of baggage will on apply.

      Vandana

  2. Krishnan Eswaran says:

    Nice information.

    1. Vandana Manwani says:

      Thanks for your comment Krishnan Eswaran .. Please keep sharing your views like this..

      Vandana

  3. Varghese Kk says:

    Good information.

    1. Vandana Manwani says:

      Thanks for your comment Varghese Kk .. Please keep sharing your views like this..

      Vandana

  4. Aman says:

    what about return flights? For example:

    I am a business traveler and I have to attend a meeting in Mumbai. I have booked a return ticket (same PNR) with DEL-BOM in morning (9am depature with arrival at 11am) and return flight from Mumbai departing at 3pm.

    Now my departure from Delhi is delayed by 5.5 hours and now departs at 2:30pm. I would get refreshments/meal.

    But my return flight is useless for me as its departing at 3pm.

    How would i be compensated?

    1. Vandana Manwani says:

      Hi Aman

      Thanks for your comment.
      In this case as you have missed your continuing flight so you can ask for refund of your ticket fare of continuing flight or you may be offered an alternative flight and along with that you get a compensation of up to 10,000.

      Read case-2 written in article.

      Vandana

  5. Hinesh says:

    There is also a mobile app AIRSEWA. I tried it. Good one.

    1. Vandana Manwani says:

      Thanks for this information hinesh,
      It will surely add value.

      Vandana

  6. Hinesh says:

    Nice informative post. Thanks.

    1. Vandana Manwani says:

      Hey Hinesh

      Glad to know that you liked the article.

      Please share it on your social media profile so that it can reach more and more people !

      Vandana

  7. Amit Mahansaria says:

    As per the article, no cancellation fee will be charged if the ticket is cancelled after 24 hours and the passenger will get full refund. Can you please share the link to this rule?

      1. Akul says:

        Airlines cannot put any cancellation charges for cancelling the tickets.
        This line in the article is incorrect. I guess you mean airlines cant charge additionally for processing the refund. The airlines can still charge a cancellation fees.

        1. Vandana Manwani says:

          Hi Akul

          I have mentioned in what cases they can not charge you for cancellation.

          Thank you

  8. Vijay Gangolli says:

    This is awesome! thank you for sharing this!

    1. Vandana Manwani says:

      Hey Vijay Gangolli

      Glad to know that you liked the article.

      Please share it on your social media profile so that it can reach more and more people !

      Vandana

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