Thursday, March 14, 2019

Flight cancelled or delayed? Here's how consumers can now get compensated

On March 12, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) decided to ground Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with immediate effect until appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken by the flight operators to ensure safety measures of passengers.

At present, Jet Airways' all five Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are already grounded due to the bad health of airline's financial. SpiceJet though will now stop operating 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Due to this, passengers may face inconvenience as more flights may get cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.

As per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) traffic reports, between September 2018 and January 2019, approximately 8.64 lakh domestic passengers faced issues on account of airline companies denying boarding, delays and cancellation of flights.

For this, passenger airline companies have paid compensation of over Rs 16 crore to customers.

Last month, the Ministry of Civil Aviation released the much-awaited passenger charter to address such problems faced by flyers. Some of the major changes in rights on flights cancelled, denied boarding or delayed are explained in table:

Many a times passengers decide to change the travel itinerary after booking the flight tickets. But now passengers will have an option to cancel or amend their flight tickets without any additional charges, except for the normal fare of the revised flight. This facility is newly introduced by airlines under “Look-in option” to passengers for a period of 24 hours after booking flight tickets. However, it’s important to note this facility will not be available for a flight whose departure is less than 7 days from booking date.

Also, after 24 hours this look-in option will not be available and the passenger will have to pay the relevant cancellation fees for amendments.

If boarding is denied to a passenger due to overbooking of his/her flight, the airline shall not be liable for any compensation if it provides alternate flight that is scheduled to depart within one hour of the original scheduled departure time. Failing to do so, the airline shall compensate the passengers as per the following provisions:

If an airline cancels the flight booked by a passenger and informs less than two weeks before and up to 24 hours of the scheduled time of departure, the airline will have to offer an alternate flight or refund the ticket, as acceptable to the passenger.
14/03/19 Hiral Thanawala/