A day after the the passenger citizen charter was unveiled, private carrier Vistara today supported the initiative and IndiGo said they are looking forward to work with the government on the proposals.
Vistara fully supports the initiative to bring more transparency, accountability, and customer convenience for air travellers, a spokesperson said.
“We already voluntarily provide several of the benefits, such as free change/cancel within 24 hours of booking if booking made on our website and app, free name changes for genuine mistakes, free accommodation in our next available flight if a customer misses his or her flight for reasons not in their control, compensation for the rare cases of overbooking – related denied boarding…etc,” the spokesperson said.
The unveiling of the charter comes in the backdrop of the government’s resolve to ensure a five-fold increase in passenger trips to one billion per annum in 15-20 years.
While the charter has proposed no cancellation charges if a booked ticket is cancelled within 24 hours, four days away from the departure time, it has also proposed a full refund if an airline informs passenger 24 hours before flight departure time about it being delayed by over four hours.
The rule will be applicable even if the ticket is booked through travel agents or airline portals.
IndiGo, in its reaction said, as the Indian aviation market is due to become the third largest in the world by 2024, it is important to constantly improve the flying experience of customers.
“IndiGo is already the most on-time airline in India, and we endeavour to provide our customers with every possible facility towards a courteous and hassle-free flying experience. We look forward to working with the government on the draft charter submitted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation,” it said in a statement.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an airline official said they would raise some issues during the stakeholders consultation process, especially on the proposed entitlement to the passengers in case of flight delays as the subject required more clarity.
Further, in case of dispute, the mechanism to address it also needs to be worked out, the official said.
“We need a clear distinction as to where the DGCA should step in case there is a dispute. We need clarity on this,” the official added.
An official of a leading airline said the proposal was a iteration of what they were already providing to the customers and saw the charter as “institutionalisation” of the entitlements.
The Vistara spokersperson said they already offer meals and refreshments for delays, accommodation on next available flight on own or other airline for schedule changes and cancellations that were not caused by force majeure, flexible fares with minimal change and cancel fees, and so forth.
The notification of the charter is expected around August after a month-long consultation process with the stakeholders. P