The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on January 25 announced new guidelines asking airlines to refund passengers that were downgraded to a lower class.
As part of the new guidelines, the aviation regulator has asked airlines to issue a 75 percent refund of the cost of ticket including taxes to passenger that were downgraded when flying on a domestic route.
Similarly, for passengers flying on international routes, if the route length is 1,500 km or lower, airlines will have to provide a refund amounting to 30 percent of the cost of ticket including taxes, if a passenger’s seat is downgraded.
For international flights between 1,500 km and 3,500 km, airlines will have to provide a refund amounting to 50 percent of the cost of ticket including taxes, if a passenger’s seat is downgraded.
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Similarly, for international flights above 3,500 km, airlines will have to provide a refund amounting to 75 percent of the cost of ticket including taxes, if a passenger’s seat is downgraded.
These rules will apply to all airlines that operate to and from India. “The DGCA is in the process of amending its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) Section-3, Series M Part IV… to protect the rights of air travellers affected by downgrading of their ticket,” the regulator said in a statement.
The airline regulator had on December 23 announced that it will soon come up with guidelines, asking airlines to issue refunds to passengers if downgraded to a lower class.
The proposal to make these changes comes at a time when airlines in India have been allegedly downgrading passengers with business class tickets to economy.
In June, the DGCA had asked Air India to not book more business class passengers than the number of serviceable seats available. The regulator had warned that any violation will invite enforcement action.
Air India’s issues arose due to an old fleet with poorly maintained seats. The regulator had conducted a probe into the issue after receiving complaints from passengers.
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