Internet and mobile services on-board an aircraft in Indian airspace – Draft Passenger Charter

As India prepares for an increase in air passenger traffic, proposals now point to improvement in compensation, connectivity, cancellations and other facets of air travel.

At a Ministry of Civil Aviation session earlier today, it was see air passenger traffic in India has grown at 19 percent p.a. in the last 4 years. Over the next 15-20 years, growth is expected to about a billion. In preparing for growth, and hassle-free air travel experience, a ‘Draft Passenger Charter’ defining rights for passengers is being notified for public consultation. Matters addressed include flight delays/cancellations, baggage lost/delay/damage, facilities for persons with disabilities, etc.

Draft Passenger Charter initiatives aim to position Indian aviation amongst the most innovative aviation networks in the world. This includes looking into digitizing end-to-end air travel experience, single-point verification requirement, enhanced security, technical standards compliant, etc. Management is also intent on working on timely and effective handling of customer grievances, and app upgradation to bring all stakeholders on a common platform.

App features are to be accessed through individual registration IDs, which are social media login enabled, and offer availability of chat-bot interface, updated flight status, and other details. Both domestic and international airlines are now allowed to offer internet and mobile services on-board an aircraft in Indian airspace. Interested stakeholders may now apply for licensing and regulatory procedures in place.

Proposals- No cancellation fee on air tickets cancelled within 24 hours of booking, provided the cancellation is done more than 4 days before the flight departure date.

Minimum compensation for lost baggage to be Rs 3000 per kg. For delayed and damaged baggage, minimum Rs 1000 per kg. Under no circumstances can the airline or its agents, including online booking agents charge cancellation charge more than the ticket amount. The taxes and levies have to be refunded.

No charges for correction of upto three characters in the name of the passenger within 24 hours of booking. Passengers to be compensated by upto Rs 20,000 (depending on the delay) for flight delays, which lead to onward flights being missed. All airports to provide atleast 30 minutes of free wi-fi service.