The government is of the view that the Rs 3,000 cancellation fee charged by some airlines
for domestic flight tickets
is too high and is reportedly going to ask the concerned carriers to roll back the fee to a more reasonable sum. The government's move comes after the price of cancelling flight tickets
has nearly doubled, according to reports, since 2016.
The Times of India
reported on Tuesday that soon, travellers might no longer need to contend with the high ticket-cancellation charges
that some airlines
in the country impose as the government is going to push for a reduction in the aforementioned charges, which can be as high as Rs 3,000.
Speaking to the national daily, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha
said that the fee, at Rs 3,000, could end up being "more than the price of the ticket itself" in many cases, and that the government's Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme had "capped fares at Rs 2,500 per hour of flying". Sinha, who said that the charges needed to be "brought back into balance", has ordered a review of the ticket-cancellation charges
imposed by airlines, the report added.
According to a Zee News
report from earlier this month, flight ticket cancellation fees charged by airlines
have almost doubled in the past one year.
According to the report, while the cost of cancelling a domestic SpiceJet
ticket in January 2016 was Rs 1,800 and the same for an international ticket was Rs 2,349, after low-cost carrier Indigo
announced a hike in its cancellation charges, SpiceJet, too, hiked its fee to Rs 2,250 for domestic tickets and to Rs 2,500 for international ones. Subsequently, at the beginning of November this year, the airline further hiked its charges to Rs 3,000 for domestic routes and Rs 3,500 for international ones.
Further, according to the report, budget airline Indigo, for its part, had hiked its cancellation fee to Rs 2,250 from Rs 1,250 in April of 2016. Subsequently, the airline hiked its fee again this year, bringing its cancellation charges
to Rs 3,000 for domestic travel and Rs 3,500 for international travel.
Vistara, which is a joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, charges Rs 3,500 for cancelling tickets in the 'super saver' category, Rs 3,600 for 'saver' tickets, and Rs 2,400 for tickets in the 'flexi' category, the report added.
In response to a tweet asking the minister of state for civil aviation whether there would be "any action towards the increased cancellation and excess baggage charges", Sinha had said, "We will take up these matters with the airlines.
Back then, a government official had told news
agencies on the condition of anonymity that the ministry would discuss the "issue of passenger convenience (fee) and charges in general" with airlines.
According to agency reports, in August, airlines
had also hiked fee for baggage exceeding weight limit of 15 kg.
According to the ToI report, apart from looking into the matter of exorbitant ticket cancellation charges, Sinha is also formulating a "passenger bill of rights" (PBOR). The PBOR, according to the report, will clarify the rights and duties of flyers.
Sinha told the national daily that the PBOR
would be based on international best practices and that it would "protect consumer rights". According to the report, the PBOR
could also call for compensating flyers for deficiency in services.