Union minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday released a passenger charter laying out the rights of air travellers in the country. The aim is to keep the system efficient and approachable, the minister said at the Aviation Conclave in New Delhi.
Prabhu said the government envisioned making “Flying for All” a reality and wanted to bring about a revolution in the domestic aviation sector. The passenger charter will cover flight delays, cancellations, diversions, overbooking, and other emergencies. It was released after nine months of consultations with airlines, LiveMint reported.
“Over a period of time, airlines will realise that making passenger rights a reality will help them,” Prabhu said.
New rules list out the compensation and charges for passengers in the event of a flight cancellation or rescheduling, IANS reported. However, the new norms will apply only if the delay or cancellation was caused by the airline concerned.
Airlines will have to provide free meals and refreshments if a flight is expected to be delayed by more than four hours. In case a flight is delayed by more than six hours, passengers can claim a full refund. Airlines are also expected to inform passengers 24 hours in advance about the original departure time in case a flight is delayed by over six hours.
If a flight scheduled between 8 pm and 9 am is delayed for more than six hours or cancelled, airlines will have to provide free hotel accommodation to passengers. “The airlines must inform about flight cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure and arrange alternate flights or refund,” said the charter.
The airlines will have to provide a free meal and refreshment during the waiting period if a passenger arrives for a flight that has been delayed. Airlines will also be liable to provide passengers a compensation of Rs 10,000 subject to condition if they miss a connecting flight on the same ticket.
If a flight is overbooked, the airline should provide an alternate flight set to depart within an hour of the original flight’s departure time. If it is unable to do so, the airline would have to compensate the passengers.
In the event of cancellation of tickets, passengers have the right to receive refund of the statutory taxes, user development and passenger services fees that are imposed by airlines. For an overseas flight, the right to refund will be subject to the airline’s internal policy.