The DGCA of India is in the process of amending its provisions to protect the rights of air travellers who are affected by the downgrading of tickets.
DGCA in a press release said that in view of the rapid expansion of air services within India and on international routes to/from India and with the increase in the volume of passenger traffic, it has been noticed that sometimes Airlines downgrade passengers (tickets).
For example, when a passenger who booked a ticket in first class, business class, or premium economy, is downgraded to a lower class at the time of check-in due to factors such as unserviceable seats, aircraft changes, overbooking, and so on.
Full Refund For Downgraded Tickets
To address such situations, the DGCA is revising its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) Section-3, Series M Part IV “Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights, and delays in flights.” to protect the rights of air travellers who have had their tickets downgraded.
The amendment will allow a passenger involuntarily downgraded from his booked class of ticket to receive a refund from the airline for the full value of the ticket, including taxes, and the airline will transport the passenger free of charge to the next available class. However, this proposal will be subject to stakeholder consultation before the final regulation is published and made applicable.
The existing CAR provisions that provide compensation as follows remain unchanged:
In the Case of Denied Boarding
|1||If an airline has overbooked a flight||Airlines to ask for volunteers in exchange for benefits|
|2||If an airline has denied boarding to a passenger against confirmed bookings for travel on the flight||No compensation if the airline arranges an alternate flight within 1 hr of the original departure|
|3||If an airline has denied boarding to a passenger against confirmed bookings for travel on the flight||Compensation if the alternate flight is within 24hrs of the original dep.: 200% of one-way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 10,000/-)|
Compensation if alternate flight after 24hrs of original dep.: 400% of one-way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 20,000/-)
In case the passenger does not opt for an alternate flight: A full refund and 400% of the one-way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 20,000/-)
In Case of Flight Cancellation*
|1||If an airline expects cancellation of the flight||Airline to inform & arrange alternate flights at least two weeks in advance|
|2||If an airline cancels a flight less than two weeks before and up to 24 hrs after the booked flight||Airline to arrange an alternate flight within 2 hrs of the original departure or refund the ticket.|
|3||If an airline cancels a flight in less than 24 hrs of a booked flight||Airlines to refund the air ticket and provide compensation as follows:|
Block time < 1 hr: One way fare + Fuel charge (Max. Rs. 5,000/-)
1hr <Block time <2 hr : One way fare + Fuel charge (Max. Rs. 7,500/-)
Block time >2 hr: One way fare + Fuel charge (Max. Rs. 10,000/-)