Taking a serious note of the indiscriminate policies followed by airlines on flight cancellations and baggage, the Civil Aviation Ministry Saturday proposed a slew of steps to rein them in and said such charges can’t exceed the base fare.
Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said airlines must ensure that refunds on cancelled tickets were made within 15 days, even if the bookings were made through agents or portals.
“All taxes, levies and user and airport development fees shall be refunded in case of no-show and cancellations,” the minister said. “The compensation has also been significantly enhanced to up to Rs 20,000, in case of denied boarding due to over-booking.”
In case of flight cancellations announced within 24 hours of departure, the compensation amount has been enhanced to up to Rs 10,000 or arrange alternative flights . This apart, refunds will also be applicable on all fares, including promotional and special rates. If the alternative flight is beyond 24 hours, then the compensation will be 400 per cent of the base fare or Rs. 20,000 whichever is less.
“It shall also be the prerogative of passenger to decide whether to get cash refund or hold the amount in credit.”
The proposal also includes the airlines shall have to ensure refunds within 15 days to domestic passengers and 30 days for international flyers, even if the tickets booked through travel agents or online portals.
In case if an airline denies boarding to passenger, it will have to have to arrange an alternate flight within an hour or pay compensation.
Also taking note of arbitrary levy on excess baggage, the minister said such charges for up to 5 kg beyond the 15 kg limit can be charged at no more than Rs 100 per kg.
“The regulations are also being amended to ensure significant improvement in the facilities to persons with disabilities.”