The world of civil aviation has seen a consistent increase in passenger demand over the previous decades. Sailing across a temporary blip caused by COVID-19, we are witnessing an upsurge in passenger demand over 2021 and 2022. Though minuscule, fliers frequently face inconveniences pre-, peri- and post-flight, ranging from flight cancellations to lost baggage. Thus, there exists a definite need for passengers to understand their rights and channels to address grievances.
This article attempts to serve as a definitive guide to the rights of air passengers in India. While we are taking necessary steps to keep this guide up-to-date, readers are encouraged to write to the editor (use the comments section below) to apprise them of any amendments.
|You have already checked in on time and the flight is delayed by:|
– 2 hours or more (for flights with block time up to 2.5 hours)
– 3 hours or more (for flights with block time between 2.5 and 5 hours)
– 4 hours or more (for all other flights)
|Free meals and refreshments|
|Domestic flight is delayed by 6 hours or more||– Rescheduling to be communicated before 24 hours of departure|
– Alternate flight option or full refund to be provided
|Flight is delayed by more than 24 hours||Free hotel accommodation|
|Flight with scheduled departure between 20:00 and 03:00 is delayed by more than 6 hours||Free hotel accommodation|
|Flight cancellation communicated to passenger at least 2 weeks in advance||Alternate flight option or full refund to be provided, as acceptable to the passenger|
|Flight cancellation communicated to passenger up to 24 hours in advance||Alternate flight option or full refund to be provided, as acceptable to the passenger|
|Flight cancellation communicated to passenger less than 24 hours in advance||Alternate flight option or COMPENSATION to be provided, as acceptable to the passenger|
Details on the compensation:
If block time is up to 1 hour, compensation* is INR 5000
If block time is between 1 to 2 hours, compensation* is INR 7500
If block time is more than 2 hours, compensation* is INR 10000
*If Basic Fare + Airline fuel charge is lesser than the listed compensation amount, the same will be provided as compensation
Additionally, airlines need to provide meals/refreshments in relation to the waiting time and transfer costs to other terminals, as required
|You have been denied boarding due to overbooking||Alternate flight scheduled to depart within 1 hour of the originally scheduled time to be arranged|
|You have been denied boarding due to overbooking and the alternate flight is scheduled to depart MORE THAN 1 hour of the originally scheduled time||If you DO opt for the alternate flight, additional compensation to be provided:|
– If departure time is up to 24 hours, compensation is 200% of Basic Fare + Airline fuel charge (max INR 10000)
– If departure time is more than 24 hours, compensation is 400% of Basic Fare + Airline fuel charge (max INR 20000)
If you DO NOT opt for the alternate flight, additional compensation to be provided:
Full refund and compensation equal to 400% of Basic Fare + Airline fuel charge (max INR 20000)
Refreshments must be provided to the passengers if the airplane is diverted to a different destination. If the wait time at the diversion airport is more than 2 hours, the airline should make arrangements to disembark the passengers from the aircraft.
Lost, delayed, or damaged baggage
The passenger is expected to report any lost, delayed, or damaged baggage to the relevant area in the airport arrivals (normally known as the ‘Baggage Claim Office’). Passengers should immediately report any loss or damage without exiting the airport. In the case of domestic flights, the liability is capped at INR 20000 per passenger, while for international flights, the same is 1131 SDR (~INR 110,000 at the time of writing this article) per passenger.
While Air India has guidelines for handling such claims, carriers like IndiGo and Vistara do not have published guidelines.
Cover credits: Saurabh Kala