Air Passenger Rights in India | Flight Delayed or Boarding
We all like travelling, but at times our travel plans might get spoiled due to Flight delays, baggage loss, Over boarding and other issues by Airlines. As a passenger what are the rights and remedies that we can undertake. The aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has laid out rules for airlines to follow in case of delays, cancellations and refunds.
Flight Delays: If you have checked in on time and the airline expects a delay of 2 to 5 hours then the airline must offer you free-of-charge meals and refreshments in relation to the waiting time. If your domestic flight is expected to be delayed by more than 6 hours, the rescheduled time should be communicated to you more than 24 hours prior to the original scheduled departure time. The airline shall offer an option of an alternate flight within a period of 6 hours or a full refund of the ticket.
Flight Cancellation: In case of a flight cancellation, the airline must inform the passenger at least 2 weeks before the schedule time of the departure, and arrange an alternate flight or refund as acceptable by the passenger. In case if the journey is under 24 hours, the same rule is applicable.
Refunds: If you had paid the ticket fare by cash, the airline has to refund the money immediately. If the payment has been done by credit card it has to refunded within 7 days. For bookings via travel agent, one has to approach the agent. Amount refunded by airline should consist of Passenger Services Fee, Airport Development Fee(ADF) or User Development Fee(UDF) and Service Tax. One can either take the refund or opt utilize the same for future travel.
Over boarding: If you’re denied boarding in case of over-booking, the airline shall arrange an alternate flight within one hour of the originally scheduled departure time. But in case you’re not provided with an alternate flight within one hour of the original flight then you’re entitled to compensation from the airline. In case the alternate flight, assigned due to overbooking would be flying not under one hour but is scheduled to depart within the 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure. The compensation will be equal to 200% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to a maximum of ₹ 10,000. In case the airline arranges an alternate flight that is scheduled to depart more than 24 hours after the booked scheduled departure. The compensation amount will be equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to a maximum of ₹ 20,000. In case, if you do not opt for an alternate flight. Then Refund of the full value of the ticket and compensation equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to a maximum of₹ 20,000.
Baggage Loss, Delay or Damage: A passenger can claim damages from the airlines for baggage only if the event which caused the loss, delay or damage took place on board the aircraft or during the period within which the checked baggage was in the charge of the carrier. In case of loss, delay or damage to baggage by domestic carriage the carrier liability is limited to ₹ 20,000 per passenger. For international carriage, the carrier liability is 1,231 Special Drawing Rights per passenger.
When the airline isn't liable to pay for compensation caused due to Flight Delay and Flight Cancellation:
The airline is not obligated to compensate the flier if the delay is caused due to 'force majeure', meaning unusual and unforeseeable events that are beyond the airline's control, cause cancellation/delay of flight(s) and which could not have been avoided despite taking enough measures, such as events due to political instability, natural disaster, civil war, riot, government order affecting the aircraft, strikes and labour disputes etc.