Air passenger ‘charter’ promises relief from cancellation charges, delays

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New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Domestic air passengers will soon be able to avail full refunds and additional compensation for flight delays and cancellations as the government on Tuesday put in the public domain a new ‘passenger charter’ for eliciting comments, suggestions before notifying them.

The new air passenger charter seeks to amend current norms for charges incurred by travellers on cancellation and rescheduling of air travel, among other things.

However, the new compensation structure will apply only if it is found that the flight delay or cancellation was caused by the airline concerned.

The new norms are expected to be notified by July 15 after public comments on the draft charter have been sought by the Ministry of Civil Aviation within a month. The ‘passenger charter’ was withdrawn soon after its release by the ministry in the early afternoon, with officials saying they will issue the draft rules “after correction.”

A revised statement from the ministry was released later in the evening.

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As per the proposed entitlements subject to conditions, “when flight is expected to be delayed for more than 4 hours” airlines will offer an option of full refund.

“When delay is more than 24 hours 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),” a revised statement from the ministry said.

On account of missing a connecting flight on the same PNR (Passenger Name Record) ticket number, the charter proposes that the concerned airline will pay Rs 5,000 for a delay of more than 3 hours.

Subsequently, if the delay is between 4 and 12 hours, the compensation will be Rs 10,000 A delay of more than 12 hours will lead to a liability of Rs 20,000 per passenger.

Besides, passengers would be de-boarded if the flight is stationed on the tarmac for more than 90 minutes “plus no possibility of departure in next 30 minutes”.

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In case of flight cancellations — if the passenger is informed less than two weeks before and up to 24 hours of departure time — then the concerned airline will be asked to offer an alternate flight or a full refund.

“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,” the ministry said.

Besides, liabilities for baggage lost, delayed or damaged have been mooted at “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 addition, airline will not 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”.

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“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,” the ministry said.

“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.”

According to the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the charter is a part of an overall campaign “#Air Sewa”. The campaign has four elements namely — passenger charter, DigiYatra, AirSewa App, Wi-Fi connectivity on-board — to broad base and provide worldclass facilities and aminities to passengers.

Apart from the charter, the ministry informed that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will soon able to give out licenses to airlines and service operators for the commence on-board Wi-Fi facility.

“The DoT will be in a position to give out licenses within two months time from the date of application,” Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey said.

–IANS

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