Vikash Sharma

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is currently in the process of amending its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) Section-3, Series M Part IV to protect the rights of air travelers affected by downgrading of their tickets.

It usually happens when a passenger, who has booked his ticket on first class, business class or premium economy, is downgraded to a lower class at the time of check-in due to various reasons like unserviceable seats, change of aircraft, or overbooking.

As per PIB report, the amendment will allow the passenger, who is downgraded involuntarily from his booked class of ticket, to receive the full value of ticket including taxes as refund from the airline and the airline will carry the passenger free of cost in the next available class. However, this proposal will go through stakeholder consultation and the final regulation shall be published and made applicable afterwards, the report said.

The existing provisions specified in CAR which provides compensation as below remain unchanged:

Denied Boarding If airline has done overbooking in a flight: Airline to ask for volunteers in exchange of benefits.

If airline has denied boarding to a passenger against confirmed bookings for travel on the flight: No compensation if airline arranges alternate flight within 1 hour of original departure.

If airline has denied boarding to a passenger against confirmed bookings for travel on the flight: Compensation if alternate flight is within 24hrs of original departure: 200% of one way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 10,000)

Compensation if alternate flight after 24hrs of original departure: 400% of one way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 20,000)

In case passenger does not opt for alternate flight: Full refund and 400% of one way fare + fuel charge (Max. Rs. 20,000)

Flight Cancellation If airline expects cancellation of flight: Airline to inform & arrange alternate flight at least two weeks in advance.

If airline cancels a flight in less than two weeks before and up to 24 hrs of booked flight: Airline to arrange alternate flight within 2 hrs of original departure or refund the ticket.

If airline cancels a flight in less than 24 hrs of 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)

1hour 2 hour: One way fare + Fuel charge (Max. Rs. 10,000)

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