While flying now, pay for luggage only if you have any

New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) In a bid to give air fliers more options to pay for only those services they require, the civil aviation watchdog has unbundled a host of such offerings — like zero baggage, preferential seating and meals — from the actual fare.

While the airlines have the option to charge extra for check-in baggage which is over 15 kg at the minimum, they have been allowed to offer a “zero baggage” option with a caveat, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a circular.

“Airlines are allowed to offer ‘no check-in baggage/hand baggage only’ fare scheme subject to the condition that the penalty to be imposed on a passenger, who avails such schemes but turns up with baggage for check-in at airline counter, cannot exceed the amount of incentive offered compared to lowest fare.”

The regulator said that, on the basis of various feedback, it was felt that many a time some services provided by airlines may not be required by passengers. Hence it was unbundling some of them to make the basic fare more affordable, with an option of paying for only the services used.

“Customer should have clear information of these services and their charges so that he/she opts only for the services they would like to avail thereby reducing potential confusion and chances of selecting the services he/she would not like to avail/purchase at the time of booking,” it said.

“Charges for the unbundled services shall be a fixed amount and shall not vary with the base fare for a particular sector/flight. Changes, if any, should be announced at least 30 days in advance by the airlines,” it said.

“Scheduled airlines may also offer special package/allowance for carriage of sports equipment and musical instruments for the international/national level players and artists, respectively, representing India.”

In addition, the watchdog has also clarified areas related to refunds in case of revision of charges or fee for such services by the scheduled airlines and in case of failure to provide any service already paid for by the consumer.

“It shall be the sole responsibility of the scheduled airline to refund the same,” it said.

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