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DGCA to amend provisions to protect the rights of travelers affected by downgrading of ticket

by IP Staff
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In view of rapid expansion of air services within India and on international routes to/from India and with the increase in the volume of passenger traffic, it has been noticed that sometimes Airlines downgrade passengers (tickets). For example when a passenger who has booked his ticket on first class, business class or premium economy, is downgraded to a lower class at the time of check-in due to various reasons like unserviceable seats, change of aircraft, overbooking, etc. In order to cater to such situations, DGCA is in the process of amending its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) Section-3, Series M Part IV “Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights.” to protect the rights of air travelers affected by downgrading of their ticket.

The amendment will allow the passenger, who is downgraded involuntarily from his booked class of ticket, to receive the full value of ticket including taxes as refund from the airline and the airline will carry the passenger free of cost in the next available class.  However, this proposal will go through stakeholder consultation and the final regulation shall be published and made applicable afterwards.

The existing provisions specified in CAR which provides compensation as below remain unchanged:

Denied Boarding

S.No.ScenarioCompensation
1If airline has done overbooking in a flightAirline to ask for volunteers in exchange of benefits
2If airline has denied boarding to a passenger against confirmed bookings for travel on the flightNo compensation if airline arranges alternate flight within 1 hr of original departure
3If airline has denied boarding to a passenger against confirmed bookings for travel on the flightCompensation if alternate flight is within 24hrs of original dep.: 200% of one way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 10,000/-)Compensation if alternate flight after 24hrs of original dep.: 400% of one way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 20,000/-)In case passenger does not opt for alternate flight: Full refund and 400% of one way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 20,000/-)

Flight Cancellation*

S.No.ScenarioCompensation
1If airline expects cancellation of flightAirline to inform & arrange alternate flight at least two weeks in advance
2If airline cancels a flight in less than two weeks before and up to 24 hrs of booked flightAirline to arrange alternate flight within 2 hrs of original departure or refund the ticket.
3If airline cancels a flight in less than 24 hrs of booked flightAirlines to refund the air ticket and provide compensation as follows:Block time < 1 hr: One way fare + Fuel charge (Max. Rs. 5,000/-)1hr <Block time <2 hr : One way fare + Fuel charge (Max. Rs. 7,500/-)Block time > 2 hr: One way fare + Fuel charge (Max. Rs. 10,000/-)

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