Passengers to get full refund when downgraded from higher cabin: DGCA | Business Standard News*

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Regulator’s rules do not say what compensation an airline needs to give to a passenger affected by ticket downgrade

Air passengers

If an airline is downgrading a passenger from a higher cabin such as premium economy, business class or first class, it will need to give full refund and a free seat in the next available cabin, said aviation regulator DGCA on Friday.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that it has observed instances wherein passengers have been downgraded from higher cabins to lower cabins.

For example, when a passenger who booked her ticket on first class, business class or premium economy, is downgraded to a lower class at the time of check-in due to various reasons like unserviceable seats, change of aircraft and overbooking, said the DGCA in its statement.

In order to cater to such situations, DGCA is in the process of amending its rule on “facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights” to protect the rights of air travelers affected by downgrading of their ticket.

India has two full-service carriers—Vistara and Air India—and they operate higher cabins such as premium economy, business class or first class.

The current set of rules by the DGCA does not mention what compensation an airline needs to give to a passenger affected by a downgraded ticket.

“The (proposed) amendment will allow the passenger, who is downgraded involuntarily from his booked class of ticket, to receive the full value of ticket including taxes as refund from the airline and the airline will carry the passenger free of cost in the next available class,” said the DGCA.

However, this proposal will go through stakeholder consultation and the final regulation shall be published and made applicable afterwards, it said.

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