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No Cancellation Fee For Flights Cancelled Within 24 Hours, According to Draft Plan

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Air travellers won’t have to pay a cancellation fee if they cancel tickets within 24 hours of booking. At least that’s the plan.

The draft Air Passenger Charter proposes a lock-in period of 24 hours from cancellation charges, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Twitter. However, a ticket booked 96 hours (or 4 days) before the flight will not be eligible for the waiver, he added.

Cancellation charges should not be more than basic fare and fuel surcharge, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told reporters. “If a flight is cancelled and it is the airline’s fault, then the passenger has to be compensated or ticket has to be refunded,” he said. “If a flight is delayed, the passenger will be compensated in various ways.”

Airlines will also have to refund the entire ticket amount to passengers if a flight is delayed for more than four hours, as per the draft plan. If the flight is delayed by a day, the airline should offer additional free-of-charge hotel accommodation.

The draft charter, which aims to strengthen passenger rights and make travel more convenient, will be put in public domain for feedback.

Besides flight delays and cancellations, other key issues addressed in the charter include lost or damaged baggage, and facilities for persons with disabilities, among others.

The key highlights are:

  • No charge if tickets cancelled within 24 hours of booking.
  • Flyers will be compensated if airlines are at fault.
  • Passengers to be compensated by up to Rs 20,000 (depending on the delay) for flight delays which lead to onward flights being missed.
  • Cancellation charges cannot be higher than base fare + fuel charges.
  • No charges if tickets cancelled 96 hours before date of travel.
  • Airlines must provide alternate flights for late cancellations.
  • Aadhar not mandatory for Digiyatra identification.
  • On-board WiFi to be launched soon.
  • Special provisions for flyers with special needs.

The features will be rolled out in the next two months, Jayant Sinha. The ministry is also working on transforming passenger experience through the Air Sewa app to address customer grievances timely.

Earlier this month, Telecom Commission allowed WiFi and in-flight voice calling, with Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu saying he will ensure “earliest implementation”.

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