Good news for people travelling via Air, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has permitted the domestic flight operators to provide concessions in ticket prices to passengers who are not carrying any baggage or have only cabin baggage.

A quick review of what used to happen before:

  • A passenger can carry up to 7 kg of cabin baggage, and
  • 15 kilograms of check-in baggage.
  • Any additional weight is chargeable. 

What has changed? The new Rule by DGCA:

  • According to the new rule, the flight operators are allowed to provide tickets at lesser prices to those travellers who chose to travel with no baggage, or
  • Just with a cabin baggage, but that to within the permissible weight limit.

What has to be done to avail the concession?

  • Passengers, at the time of booking their tickets, will have to disclose the weight of baggage they will be carrying.

On the same, the DGCA said that –

“As part of airline baggage policy, scheduled airlines will be allowed to offer free baggage allowance as well as “zero baggage/no check-in baggage fares”. This will be subject to the condition that the passenger booking ticket under such fare scheme is made aware of the charges that shall be applicable if the passenger turns up with the baggage for check in at the airline counter. These applicable charges shall be reasonable; prominently displayed to the passenger at the time of booking of ticket and also to be printed on the ticket.” 

The aviation body has also allowed segregation of other services, who’s rates shall be decided by the airlines themselves. The services includes;

  • Preferential seating, 
  • Meal-snack-drink charges, 
  • Airline lounges, 
  • Sports equipment charges, and 
  • Musical instrument charge, etc. 

On segregation of the services which according was seen that are not required by every passenger travelling the Aviation watchdog said that

“On the basis of various feedback received, it is felt that many times these services provided by the airlines may not be required by the passengers while travelling. Considering the fact that unbundling of services and charges thereto has the potential to make basic fare more affordable and provide consumer an option of paying for the services which he/she wishes to avail, it has been decided by the government to allow these services to be unbundled and charged separately on opt-in basis.”

When we think about these steps taken by the Aviation Watchdog DGCA, these changed rules seem like a long due. It will make air travel much easier and resourceful to a lot of people. 

With that being said, we may also look upon the time when in the recent past all domestic and international flights were suspended after the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 24, 2020. Though the domestic flights have now resumed from May 25, 2020 keeping in view the guidelines provided by Home Ministry.

The Centre, in December last year, also increased the cap on the number of domestic passenger flights Airlines were allowed to operate, which was an increase of about 10% making it from the existing 70% to 80% of the pre-COVID levels.