DGCA Amends Flight Ticket Rules, Airlines to Refund 75 Percent of Airfare in Case of Downgrade

The Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) for passengers unable to board due to denial of boarding, airline cancellation, or flight delay has been revised by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). With the CAR amendment, passengers who are involuntarily downgraded and taken to a lower class than the ticket they paid for will receive reimbursement from the airline.

With the new rules being implemented by aviation regulator DGCA, the airline will reimburse 75 per cent of the ticket cost to passengers whose domestic flight tickets have been downgraded. For downgrade to international access, the reimbursement amount will vary from 30 per cent to 75 per cent of the ticket cost, including taxes, depending on the distance covered by the particular flight.

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A senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said on Wednesday that the new rules would come into effect from February 15. The regulator decided to amend the norms against the backdrop of complaints from air travelers that their tickets booked for a particular class were being downgraded by airlines.

In December last year, the DGCA had proposed that airlines would have to refund the full value of such tickets, including taxes, and also that affected passengers be flown free of cost in the next available class.

However, the official said those proposals have been modified in line with international practices. The watchdog has amended its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) related to facilities provided by airlines to passengers due to denial of boarding, cancellation of flights and delay in flights.

“The amendment will allow a passenger, who is involuntarily downgraded and moved to a class lower than the class for which the ticket was purchased,” the DGCA said in a statement on Wednesday. For downgrade of domestic flight ticket, the concerned passenger will get 75 per cent of the ticket price including taxes from the airline.

In case of downgrading an international ticket, a passenger will receive 30 per cent of the ticket price of the international ticket; A passenger will receive 30 per cent of the ticket price inclusive of taxes for a flight of 1,500 kms or less. According to the statement, if the flight covers a distance between 1,500 and 3,500 kms, the amount, including taxes, would be 50 per cent.

For flights covering a distance of more than 3,500 kms, the reimbursement amount will be 75 per cent of the cost of the ticket including taxes. The regulator said these changes have been made to strengthen the rights of air passengers who are affected by downgrading their tickets.

with agency inputs