Checking-in above 15kg to be costly
Delhi High Court Sets Aside DGCA Order Capping Charge At Rs 100 For Each Extra Kilo
Checking-in more than 15kg on domestic flights can now blow a big hole in your pocket.
The Delhi high court set aside a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) order on Wednesday that capped excess baggage charge at Rs 100 per kg for each extra kilo between 15kg and 20 kg. Justice Vibhu Bakhru said DGCA had no power to fix such tariff for excess check-in baggage.
While the airlines were earlier free to charge any amount as excess baggage charge beyond 20kg, they can now go back to their old fee of up to Rs 350 per kg beyond 15kg itself. For flyers, it may mean shelling out up to Rs 250 more per kg in the 15-20kg band.
About two years back, all Indian carriers -except Air India -had reduced free check-in baggage allowance for economy class domestic flyers from 20kg to 15kg.They then started charging anywhere between Rs 220 to Rs 350 per kg for each kilo beyond 15kg. After complaints from passengers, the DGCA directed airlines on June 10, 2016 not to charge more than Rs 100 per kg between 15 and 20kg. Beyond 20 kg, they were free to charge any amount. The Federation of Indian Airlines, which has carriers like IndiGo, Jet, GoAir and SpiceJet as members, challenged this order and moved court.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation circular had come into effect from July 1 last year as the court had not stayed it or deferred the date of implementation after the FIA challenged the move. The court had then clarified that the amount charged by the airlines would be restored if the FIA succeeded in its plea challenging the circular.
FIA, in its plea, argued that DGCA did not have the jurisdiction to fix tariff as this power rested with the airlines and the fares were determined by the market forces. It had said that the DGCA could interfere only when there were specific instances of discriminatory practices and such circulars could not be issued in a general manner.
Currently , all domestic carriers allow free check-in baggage up to 15 kg. Only Air India allows free baggage up to 23 kg.
Smart boarding cards soon
Your boarding pass will soon be “smart“ enough to tell whether you have cleared security checks before getting on an aircraft without a stamp on it declaring that.
The CISF and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security are working on a three-pronged strategy to end the system of stamping boarding cards “security checked“, just like hand bag tags at several airports are now not marked.Currently , only Hyderabad airport has a paperless boarding process.
“We are working on a system where boarding cards will be scanned at the time of entering a terminal (or when a passenger gets the same at check-in) and then after clearing the pre-embarkation security check. This card will be scanned at the boarding gate where the person doing so will know if the flyer has cleared previous two stages or if heshe has skipped it,“ said a CISF official.
CISF chief O P Singh said a pilot project on not stamp ing cards would soon be carried out at some smaller airports. “In due course, we will end the stamping of boarding cards.“ BCAs and CISF are also working on biometrics and e-boarding facility that will enable a paperless entry into an aircraft once the system of scanning boarding passes is in place. Flyers can then board planes by just giving an iris or fingerprint scan and showing the boarding card on their phones.
Meanwhile, CISF has reworked its strategy to meet threat of terrorists driving in SUVs to airport front porches. “At a certain safe distance from the airport, we will start scanning vehicles. Any suspicious SUV approaching the airport will be checked thoroughly ,“ an official said.