Flights - Expectations not met

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You should know

Flight delays and cancellations affect thousands of people every year. Some delays are unavoidable or unpredictable, and some are caused due to technical errors. However, the good news is that there are laws protecting your rights if the fault is with the airline – and if the delays are significant. This could mean you’re entitled to compensation. Even if you’re not automatically entitled to a full or partial refund, you still have the right to make a complaint if you’re unhappy.

Also, it is extremely important to have complete knowledge about the refund policies of your airline for delays, cancellations, boarding denial, loss or damage, or delayed arrival of baggage. You must know about their grievance redressal procedure to stay well informed in order to avoid future problems.

What are my rights as a passenger?

You have the right to receive full disclosure of your flight details regardless of whether you have booked via a travel agent, an online travel company, or through the airline directly. Upon booking a flight the following information should be provided to you immediately:

  1. If your flight is non-stop
  2. If there will be stops en-route but without a change of aircraft
  3. If there are connecting flights to the destination
  4. Computation of the fares as applicable
  5. Airline company
  6. Transfer between the airports during the journey

Other than this, airlines are bound to provide free assistance to specially abled persons, senior citizens, and pregnant women.

How to submit a complaint against airline flights in India?

  • For grievance redressal, you may take up the matter with Nodal Officer of the concerned airline with regard to your flight 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 flights.

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.

Do you have to be an Indian citizen to file a complaint?

No, the law covers all those flying. A foreign citizen can also file a claim against flights and airlines.

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