Ahead of the upcoming peak summer travel season, the Directrate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday warned all Indian carriers that violating rules in this regard will “be viewed seriously and strict action will be initiated” against erring airlines that will include penalties as per regulations.
“It has come to the notice of this office that various airlines are denying boarding to passengers holding confirmed ticket on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding within the time specified by airline. This practice is extremely unfair to passengers and brings a bad name to the aviation industry, “says a missive sent to all airline CEOs on Friday on the directions of DGCA chief Arun Kumar.
The regulator will from next week conduct surprise checks at airports to see if airlines are restoring to this malpractice of first overbooking and then denying boarding.
“Flights on some sectors see huge rush periodically. It is there that this problem is being witnessed. Our surprise checks will take action on the spot if the same is found. We want to make passengers aware of what they are entitled to in case of wrongly being denied boarding because not everyone knows about these rights, ”said a senior official.
The regulator had in 2010 put in place penalties that airlines are required to pay passengers in case wrongly denied boarding; sudden flight cancellation and long delays.
In case of overbooking, airlines are first supposed to seek volunteers who may be okay with going on subsequent flights. No compensation needs to be paid if an alternate flight is arranged within an hour of the original booked one, says the civil aviation requirement (CAR).
But if that is not the case, airlines are required to compensate passengers by paying “200% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs 10,000, in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart within the 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure. ”
“An amount equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs 20,000, in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart more than 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure. In case a passenger does not opt for alternate flight, refund of full value of ticket and compensation equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of Rs 20,000, ”the CAR says. Still very few passengers are aware of these provisions.