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Easier refunds, more compensation: DGCA

13.06.2016

The Director General of Civil Aviation released proposals to ease flyers’ woes in the event of cancelled flights or when they are denied boarding. Also up for discussion is the standardisation of conditions for travel of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.

The first, on facilities to be provided to passengers generally and in the event of cancellation and delay, demands greater transparency at the time of booking. It calls for ‘neutral information’ provided by the airline or agent about the various flights operating the journey and fares. Additionally, previously vague stipulations that the ‘airline shall provide them [passengers on cancelled flights] facilities at the airport’ have been bolstered by tiered compensation regime.

Refund of tickets is also addressed, specifically delay in refund, amount refunded and policies that merely adjust the due amount against a ticket purchased with the airline in future. For domestic travel, ticket refund will have to be processed within 15 days, which will include all statutory taxes, airport fee and passenger fee. The same will be applicable to all fares, including those where the basic fare is non-refundable. Moreover, airlines are not permitted to levy cancellation charges more than the basic fare nor levy an additional charge to process refund.

Finally, are proposals to harmonise travel requirements and acceptance for persons with disabilities or reduced mobility. Airlines, save for some exceptions, cannot refuse carriage of disabled persons and their assistive aids, which includes escorts and guide dogs. At the time of online booking, airlines are required to provide ‘conspicuous’ means for additional requests. Also mandated is the availability of standard assistive equipment at airports and adequate training for ground staff.

Comments on the proposals are being received by DGCA till 27 June 2016.

Tags : air travel refund cancellation disability compensation

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