Government Unveils Passenger Rights Charter

If your domestic flight is delayed by six hours or more then the airline should inform you a day in advance and offer you an alternate flight or a full ticket refund. If the airline has cancelled your flight and has failed to inform you or you missed a connecting flight because the airline’s earlier flight wasn’t on time, then you could get a compensation of Rs.5,000-Rs.10,000 depending on travel time or one-way base fare plus fuel charge, whichever is less.

These and other provisions formed the passenger rights charter released by the ministry of civil aviation, after about nine months of consultation with various airlines.

According to the charter, if a flight is delayed by two to six hours, depending on the travel time, the airline needs to only offer passengers waiting at the airport only free meals and refreshments. For delays more than six hours for flights scheduled between 8 pm and 3 am and a delay of over 24 hours for other flights, airlines should inform passengers a day in advance and also offer them free hotel accommodation, the charter said. But that would be of hardly any solace to a passenger who has booked an international holiday.

If the airline has informed passengers about a flight cancellation less than two weeks and more than 24 hours in advance, then it is liable to offer them an alternate flight or a full refund. Here again, passengers who book months in advance stand to lose if the airline informs them over two weeks before departure date about the cancellation. A full refund is hardly a compensation in such a case. If the airline fails to inform passengers about the cancellation or they have a missed the airline’s connecting flight because its earlier flight was delayed, then they will get a compensation amounting to the cost of a one-way basic fare plus fuel charges or Rs.5,000—for flights up to one hour long—to Rs.10,000—for flights over two hours long—whichever is less.

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