Moneycontrol
Last Updated : Mar 14, 2019 09:11 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

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

As per DGCA traffic reports, between September 2018 and January 2019, approximately 8.64 lakh domestic passengers faced issues on account of airlines denying boarding, delays and cancellation of flights

Hiral Thanawala @thanawala_hiral

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:

Table 1_flightSource: Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Guidelines

“Look-in option”

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.

For instance, a passenger has booked an air ticket for Delhi-Mumbai sector on March 4, 2019 at 11 am and his date of departure is March 15, 2019 from Delhi. The passenger can avail the look-in option for cancelling or amending ticket till March 5 10:59 am.

Denied boarding? Here’s how much you can claim in compensation

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:

Table 2

Source: Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Guidelines

Flight cancelled/delayed?

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.

Passengers who have not been informed or have missed the connecting flight booked on the same ticket, the airline will have to either provide alternate flight as acceptable to the passenger or provide compensation in addition to the full refund of air ticket:

Table 3_flight

Source: Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Guidelines

Are you eligible for compensation?

If you are holding confirmed tickets, carrying valid travel documents and are present at the airport on specified time by the airlines for check-in. Then you are entitled to file a claim.

One cannot claim any financial compensation if you have not provided adequate contact information (email id or a phone number) at the time of booking tickets.

Another condition that the charter mentions for no compensation is if cancellations occur due to circumstances beyond the control of the airline which include natural disaster, civil war, flood, meteorological conditions, cancellations and delays due to Air Traffic Control (ATC), etc.

Compensation process

If a passengers has been denied boarding a flight or the flight booked has been cancelled or delayed, customers may complain directly to the airline for compensation.

If an airline does not provide the compensation/facilities as specified by DGCA, passengers can file grievances on Air Sewa app or portal. Air Sewa is grievance redressal system initiated by aviation ministry.

Passengers can further file a complaint to any statuary body/court if not satisfied with the resolution by Air Sewa. The compensation will have to be paid in cash, bank transfer or travel vouchers by the airlines.


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First Published on Mar 14, 2019 09:11 am
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