Airline Tickets and Fares - Refund request refused

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You should know
  • Make sure you read the booking policy of an airline before making a purchase or confirming your tickets.
  • To avoid future hassles, keep a copy of the air ticket bill of purchase as evidence.
  • Check the price break up thoroughly before confirming payment. Otherwise, you may end up paying for an add-on service you didn’t need!

How to submit a complaint against airlines ticket and fares?

  • For grievance redressal, you may take up the matter with Nodal Officer of the concerned airline with regard to your airfare issue. The details of the Nodal Officer will be given on the airline website. Upon response, elucidate on your issue citing all relevant details related to your travel like the booking ID, date and time of booking, departure and arrival destinations, facilities offered, etc.
  • If the issue is unresolved with Nodal Officer, then you may approach the Appellate Authority of the concerned airline operator for resolution. You will find the details on escalation on the airline website. Airline/Airport operator is required to redress the grievance within one month.
  • In case of non-redressal of the matter within the stipulated time frame, you still have an option to take up the matter with DGCA by simply filling out a grievance redressal form or by contacting the authority through call or an email. DGCA would hold an inquiry into the matter and may take a final decision based on facts and circumstances. The authority may direct the airlines to pay compensation to the flier.
  • DGCA has also set up a SUGAM portal for a speedy resolution of travelers’ complaints. With the new mechanism in place, consumer grievances are expected to be resolved within a fortnight.
  • You can also file a consumer case at an appropriate consumer forum to claim compensation against an issue related to airline tickets and fares.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has also launched an AirSewa mobile phone app, where complaints related to airfares and tickets can be directly posted.

What does my airfare comprise of?

As per the DGCA, your airline ticket comprises of the following components:

  1. The airline component, which is inclusive of the basic fare, airline fuel charge, Common User Terminal Equipment Fee (if applicable), Convenience Fee (if booking made through internet using debit/ credit card).
  2. Airport Authority of India levies a fixed passenger services fee
  3. Airport Operator levies Airport Development Fee & User Development Fee
  4. Lastly, the Government of India levies service tax on airfare

Airlines also offer a wide range of optional services on chargeable basis. You can choose or remove these services as you desire. Once paid, you cannot get a refund if you later decide to not use the additional service. You can avail the mentioned services at the time of booking and choose any of them on “opt-in” basis if you so desire:

  • Preferential seating.
  • Meals/snacks/drinks charges (except drinking water).
  • Charges for using airline lounges.
  • Check-in baggage charges.
  • Sports equipment charges.
  • Musical instrument carriage.
  • Fee for special declaration of valuable baggage (allow for a higher unit on carrier liability).

Tariff sheets are displayed on airline websites which indicate multiple levels of fares in accordance with the DGCA approved fare guidelines and the provision of Air Transport Circular 02 of 2010. You can check these airfare levels from the tariff sheet and compare with what is being offered to you. You are also advised to read the terms and conditions for luggage carefully before finalizing your booking. Such information is available on the airline website.

Additionally, if you are booking airline tickets online through a travel portal, the business may also levy transactional charges, and other taxes, thus increasing your airfare.

Who is the DGCA?

The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the chief regulator of the aviation industry in India. Every airline company has to follow the directives, rules, and regulations as laid down by DGCA. It is responsible for the regulation of air transport services to/from/within India and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards. The authority is also the chief investigator in case of mid-flight incidents and aircraft accidents.

How will DGCA help me?

The authority has appointed dedicated public grievance officers at various levels whose main job is to resolve consumer complaints. They also have a passenger grievance cell, through which a complaint is expected to be resolved within 15 days. Resolver can assist you in this process.

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