Travelling light might soon save some additional money for domestic fliers. A senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that the aviation regulator will take a call on “zero baggage fare”, which will provide additional discount to passengers travelling without check-in luggage.
Low-cost private airlines IndiGo, AirAsia and SpiceJet met with DGCA officials requesting to allow to offer additional discount to such passengers. The passengers will be able to avail extra discount while booking tickets, once they specify that they are not carrying any additional luggage.
This system will do away with the present structure of allowing 15 kg of check-in luggage for free, which means passengers carrying up to the prescribed weight will have to pay an additional amount. This would make air travel a tad more expensive for flyers carrying luggage. “The proposal is under consideration,” said the official.
However, the DGCA is waiting for all the other airlines to provide the regulator with a ball-park estimate of the discounts that they will offer. “We have written to all the airlines. Some of them did not provide any discounting numbers. The discount should be realistic and everyone should have the same rationale,” the official said.
This may also mean, that airlines would charge passengers on a per-kg basis. The DGCA will come to any such conclusion once it gets feedback from all the airlines on the same. “There are some gaps that need to be plugged in,” the DGCA official said. However, the official confirmed that in a discussion, all airlines, including the full-service carriers, support such a move.
In April last year, the DGCA had allowed airlines to unbundle the service and charge for each one of them separately — for services like preferred seats and on-board meals. The “zero baggage fare” is another step in that direction.
Experts said that baggage processing and handling is an additional cost for the airlines, and if a passenger does not carry any baggage, he should be given benefits for travelling light. The regulator is looking at various aspects of this move before the proposal is implemented.
“We want to have a uniform system for all airlines before deciding on when and how to implement the proposal,” the official said.