The regulator has warned airlines and in an email on May 2 — asked all Indian carriers to give compensation and facilities to passengers affected by such denial of boarding, failing which it would will impose financial penalties on them.
“It has come to the notice of this office that various airlines are denying boarding to passengers holding confirmed ticket on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding within the time specified by the airline. This practice is extremely unfair to the passengers and brings a bad name to the aviation industry,” Rohit Thakur, an officer with the regulator wrote.
Airline executives say that in case a passenger is not allowed to board even though he has reported on time this is due to over booking- an acceptable practice where an airline sells more tickets than they have seats on the plane. This is to ensure that they have no empty seats in case of cancellations.
The DGCA has asked airlines to follow laid down regulations in case a passenger is denied boarding.
The 2010 regulation of the DGCA states that when the number of passengers who have been given tickets for a flight and have reported at the airport for boarding the flight on time are more than the number of seats on a flight, the airline must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for certain benefits.
However, in the absence of enough volunteers, the airline can evade giving any compensation if the affected passenger — who has been denied boarding as the original flight is overbooked — is given a ticket on an alternative flight that is departing within one hour of the original flight’s departure.
The airline has to give an amount equal to 200 per cent of basic fare plus fuel charge in case the alternate flight is scheduled to depart within 24 hours of the original flight’s departure.
The airline has to give an amount equal to 400 per cent of the basic fare plus fuel charge in case the alternate flight is scheduled to depart more than 24 hours after the original flight’s departure, as per the regulation.
In case the affected passenger does not opt for alternate flight, refund of full value of ticket and compensation, equal to 400 per cent of basic fare plus fuel charge, has to be given, the regulation said.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee has recently asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation That the provisions should be strictly enforced so that passengers are not inconvenienced.
It has also recommended that in the case of cancellation or delay of flights, a provision should be compulsorily made by airlines to provide a waiting hall or VIP lounge for the passengers and food, water and snacks should also be served to them for which the expenses for the same should be borne by the concerned airlines.