New Delhi: Air passengers will now be able to cancel their tickets without having to pay cancellation charges! Yes, according to new Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) guidelines, passengers can cancel their flight tickets without having to pay anything within 24 hours of the booking.
As per the new charter, this zero cancellation fee will not work in case the tickets are booked less than a week before the scheduled departure. If the ticket is cancelled when the time period between the date of booking and date of departure is less than seven days, airlines can charge a cancellation fee. However, the fee cannot exceed the total of base fare and fuel surcharge.
It may be noted that currently, several airline charge cancellation fee of up to Rs 5,000 and passengers have complained about such high charges often times. The charges are high even if the ticket is cancelled right after it was booked.
The charter states that in order to reduce inconvenience caused to the passengers as a result of the cancellations of the flights on which they are booked to travel, airline is required to inform the passenger of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure and arrange alternate flight/refund as acceptable to the passenger. In case the passengers are informed of the cancellation less than two weeks before and up to 24 hours of the scheduled time of departure, the airline shall offer an alternate flight or refund the ticket, as acceptable to the passenger.”
According to the revised charter, passengers who have not been informed or missed the connecting flight booked on the same ticket number of an airline, the airlines shall either provide alternate flight as acceptable to the passenger or provide compensation in addition to the full refund of air ticket in accordance with the following provisions:
1. Rs 5,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time of up to and including 1 hour.
2. Rs 7,500 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having block time of more than 1 hour and up to and including 2 hours.
3. Rs 10,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time of more than 2 hours.
Additionally, the airline is also required to provide the passengers facilities at the airport in accordance with the charter, in the event they have already reported for their original flight and whilst they are waiting for the alternate flight.
Also, air travellers can claim enhanced compensation of baggage loss. The DGCA circular states, “In view of 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 become necessary for the Government to take appropriate action to ensure appropriate protection for the air travellers in case of flight disruptions and, in particular, denied boardings, flight cancellations and delays without due notice to the passengers booked on the flights.”