Friday, September 17, 2010

Now, Airlines Pay up for Hassling Fliers

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Following a DGCA directive, airlines have for the first time compiled figures for the number of passengers affected by delays, cancellations and denial of boarding passes despite arriving at the airport on time: A staggering 46,228 flyers in August alone.

And this isn't even a comprehensive list, for Air India and Jet, two of the largest domestic carriers, are yet to comply fully with the directive.

As a result of the findings, in a first, 13 of the 71 passengers who were wrongly denied boarding passes were compensated in the range of Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000, apart from a full refund.

The airlines, including Kingfisher, SpiceJet, IndiGo and Go Air, faced delays of over two hours in August. While the four airlines have a combined market share of 54.7%, Jet-JetLite and AI (domestic) that enjoy the remaining 45.3% domestic slice have not said how many of their flyers faced delays of over two hours.

Industry sources say these numbers could have crossed a lakh had the two majors, Air India and Jet, complied. Jet, like other airlines (except AI), admits to providing meals and refreshment to passengers inconvenienced by delays. Some said they put delayed passengers on other flights.

Similarly, 5,178 domestic passengers who were supposed to be airborne in August were left stranded by sudden cancellations. Kingfisher, SpiceJet and Go account for this collective figure. Interestingly, Jet and JetLite have told the aviation ministry that none of their passengers were affected by cancellations.

This despite the fact that DGCA figures show the overall industry flight cancellation rate was 3.1% last month. But JetLite and Jet topped this list with 10.5% and 6.6%, respectively, of their flights being cancelled. DGCA is going to seek an explanation from Jet on this.

And, finally, of all domestic airlines, only Kingfisher admitted to having denied boarding to 71 passengers. AI did not give any figure. Denial of boarding occurs when airlines overbook to make up for last-minute no shows. Kingfisher told the government that 13 such passengers were refunded and compensated while the rest 58 were accommodated on other flights.

Source : The Economic Times

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