With lower charges,higher compensation amounts and faster refunds, there's much to cheer about

How Aviation Ministrys new measures will make your next flight cheaper easier
news Air Travel Monday, June 13, 2016 - 14:11

Following rising complaints by travelers against Indian carriers, the Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to step in with a slew of traveler-friendly changes. The Ministry particularly took note of the fact that over 4,000 flights were cancelled, and another 64,000 flights were delayed in the last year.

Also noted were repeated complaints from travelers that their problems were not being dealt with in a time-bound manner. Many of the changes proposed by the Ministry, which will be applicable to both domestic and international flights by Indian carriers, appear to be a net win for the consumer. Here are some of the key provisions that would directly affect your next travel experience.

1. Charges for cancellation by passengers have been reduced. The new rules have mandated that ticket cancellation charges cannot exceed basic fare. Processing the refund cannot incur any extra charges. Passengers can decide if they want to get a cash refund or hold the amount in credit.

2. Adequate compensation to be given if passenger is denied boarding due to over-booking. If the company arranges another flight within 24 hours, then compensation would be double the basic fare and the airline fuel charge, up to a limit of Rs 10,000.  If the alternative flight is arranged more than 24 hours later, the compensation goes up to four times the basic fare up to a limit of Rs 20,000.

3. In case of cancellations, all taxes and user/airport development fees are to be refunded.

4. All refunds must be completed within 15 days for domestic passengers and 30 days for international travellers.

5. Excess baggage fees are to be lowered. Excess baggage of upto 5 Kg over the 15-Kg limit will be charged at not more than Rs 100 per Kg. At present, Rs 300 is levied for every Kg of baggage beyond the 15-Kg limit. Only Air India allows free baggage up to 23 Kg.

6. Compensation for flight cancellations has been increased. In case of flight cancellations announced within 24 hours of departure, the compensation amount has been enhanced upto Rs 10,000

7. Airlines must provide request for stretcher option. To help people with disabilities, airlines should develop a procedure for making advance request of stretcher. It should be displayed on the airline’s website.

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