Indian carriers may have to pay stranded fliers compensation of up to Rs 20,000 if they miss connecting flights due to airline cancellations or delays in their initial leg of the journey, the regulator has proposed in a charter that lists the rights and responsibilities of air travellers.
The charter, proposed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and seen by ET, also directs airlines to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 for ‘forced’ denied boarding to passengers. A passenger is not permitted to board by an airline when a flight is overbooked.
More such incidents are now being increasingly reported across India, which is one of the world’s fastest-expanding aviation markets.
These proposals by the regulator have been opposed by members of the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) and non-FIA members such as Vistara and AirAsia India.
According to the charter, the DGCA has, for the first time, proposed a compensation of up to Rs 20,000 (depending on the number of hours of delay) to passengers missing their onward journeys due to delays attributable to the carrier in the initial leg of the flight. The same compensation will also be given to a passenger missing the onward flight due to cancellations.
On tarmac delays beyond 120 minutes, the DGCA has also proposed that passengers be allowed to deplane.
Tarmac delays are reported primarily during the winter.
FIA members IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir have recommended maintaining the existing norms – of no provision for compensation. Vistara, meanwhile, has sought a distinction in compensation for both international and domestic travel.
“Airline obligation is only if the connection is on the same ticket or PNR. Cash compensation in this scenario should be for payment of meals/hotels within specified limits, if the airline does not itself provide. Compensation levels should also reflect low fares and yields in India (among the lowest in the world). As is the case globally, airlines should have no regulatory obligation or penalty whatsoever if the connection is on a separately purchased ticket on a different PNR,” read Vistara’s response to the aviation ministry and DGCA.
On the proposal to inform passengers about cancellations up to 24 hours ahead of a flight or make full refund on a ticket, the airlines have also complained that travel agents often don’t share passenger contact details.