A BJD member today sought the government’s intervention to reverse the restrictions imposed by private airlines on the number of check-in bags for the economy class, which the Centre said it would look into. Anubhav Mohanty raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha during the Question Hour and demanded the government’s intervention to direct the airlines to revert to the earlier system of restricting the check-in baggages to 15 kgs, irrespective of the number of pieces.
In his response, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said “scheduled domestic airlines put no restriction on the number of the check-in baggages, except Jet Airways.” Jet Airways has restricted with effect from July 15, the number of pieces of check-in baggage to one, weighing 15 kg or less, he said.
The Minister said that airline services have been unbundled since 2016 and the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation has “limited powers” over them. “Limiting check-in baggage to 15 kg is understood. But why the number of bags. I will look into it,” he assured.
Responding to a supplementary question on making announcements in flights in regional languages, the Minister said “it is an important issue. …We will advise airlines.” To another query on inadequate services for senior citizens at airports, Prabhu admitted that there were a lot of challenges that passengers have to face because of exponential growth in air traffic which is growing at 20 per cent.
The government on May 22 had come with a draft passenger charter incorporating the rights for air passengers, for public consultation. It includes measures in the areas of delay and cancellation of flights, denied boarding due to overbooking, cancellation of tickets by passenger, name change on the ticket among other facilities at the airport, he said.
Prabhu said the government has launched on a pilot a technology-based platform called “Digi Yatra” to address the problems faced during the entire life cycle of air travel. “This is under trial. We will be launching it soon. I am sure this will give different kind of experience,” Prabhu added.