‘Compensate fliers for over 2-hour delays’

The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) has sought compensation for passengers for flight delays of more than two hours and for no notification at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure, and demanded an ombudsman for the aviation sector.

In its suggestions and objections to the draft air passenger charter, APAI has also asked the Aviation Ministry to convene a meeting of all stakeholders in the last week of July, prior to finalising and circulating the charter.

The ministry had in May come out with the draft air passenger charter, which seeks to address issues related to flight delays and cancellations. The charter has proposed that passengers would be compensated Rs. 20,000 on missing connecting flights if the delay is more than 12 hours and Rs. 10,000 if the delay is between four and 12 hours.

The ministry is expected to finalise the proposal this month.

D. Sudhakara Reddy, president, APAI, said to the ministry, “At the meeting, all stakeholders can address their concerns to enable the finalisation of the passenger charter/rights.”

APAI has alleged that airlines misuse the norms exempting them from paying compensation for cancellations due to “extraordinary circumstances”. “Compensation in the event of cancellation within seven days of departure of the flight must be well defined, as for a period of less than seven days, the passenger has to pay steep fares as they are considered as last-minute bookings,” Mr. Reddy said.

APAI has also said that ticket cancellation charges must be confined to the base fare, as the airline incurs all other costs, including fuel surcharge, only if the passenger travels.

The association has said compensation for baggage loss cannot be the same for domestic and international passengers, and suggested that minor corrections in the passenger’s name must be done free of cost by the airline’s call centre/check-in counter on production of a valid identity card.

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