/ Good news for air travellers! New rules allow 'no cost' flight cancellation, compensation on delays

ABP News : Feb 28, 2019, 11:15 AM

Air passengers can now cancel their tickets or even change booking for free within a day of making the reservation if the travel date is at least a week away. Customers will also be able to claim compensation for delays, cancellations of flights. Passengers can claim compensation of up to Rs 20,000 if airlines denies boarding due to flights being overbooked. Damage to luggage in cargo would give flyers a compensation

In a major relief to air travellers, the civil aviation ministry has made some vital changes in the air ticket cancellation process. Air passengers can now cancel their tickets or even change booking for free within a day of making the reservation if the travel date is at least a week away, as per a government charter of passenger rights released on Wednesday. Apart from this, customers will also be able to claim compensation for delays, cancellations of flights or if boarding is denied by airlines. As per the new circular, passengers can claim compensation of up to Rs 20,000 if the airlines denies boarding due to flights being overbooked and does not offer an alternative flight which is within an hour of the timing of the earlier flight.

Flyers will also be eligible for compensation if they are not informed about the cancellation of their flight well in advance. The new rule states that customers will be eligible for a compensation of Rs 10,000 or full refund of ticket fare, whichever is low, in case of last minute cancellation by the air carrier.

Under the new charter, passengers are also allowed to make changes such as name or other booking details within 24 hours booking tickets without paying any extra charges. Along with this, passengers will also be eligible to claim compensation of up to Rs 20,000 in case of loss of baggage. Damage to luggage in cargo would give flyers a compensation of Rs 350/ kg.

Announced by Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday, the new charter was analysed by the ministry for over nine months and the slew of rights given to passengers are aimed at providing enhanced and seamless air travel experience to customers. “At the time of booking, the airline must clearly indicate the amount of refund money that will be given to passenger in case of cancellation,” the charter read.

If a flight is delayed by over six hours, air carriers have to offer an alternative flight to passengers or give full refund. Airlines will also have to inform passengers about such delays 24 hours in advance. Airlines will also have to provide free hotel accommodation for a delay of 24 hours or more from the departure time communicated a day ago or a six-hour delay if the scheduled departure was between 8 pm and 3 am.

The airlines also have to bear the transportation expenses if airport or boarding terminal is changed without giving a six-hour prior notice. The passenger charter also prescribes uniform penalties on carriers for poor services such as missing connecting flights and others.