All Indian airlines have been ordered by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to give compensation and services to passengers who are denied boarding despite being at the airport on time or in the case of a flight cancellation or delay.
In the event that airlines violate the instruction, the aviation authority warned that "severe action will be initiated against the erring airline, including imposing financial penalties as per laws."
“It has come to the notice of this office that various airlines are denying boarding to passengers holding confirmed tickets on a flight, although they have presented themselves for boarding within the time specified by the airline. This practice is extremely unfair to the passengers and brings a bad name to the aviation industry,” the DGCA told the airlines in an email dated May 2.
“To address such a situation, DGCA had issued civil aviation regulations (CARs) Sections 3, Series M, Part IV on ‘Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights’,” it added.
The DGCA was referring to a guideline it published in 2010 that established minimum compensation and airline amenities for passengers who were "denied boarding, cancelled, or delayed in flight."
According to the regulation, if a flight is cancelled, airlines must notify customers two weeks before to the scheduled departure date, or arrange an alternate trip or offer a refund, whichever is more convenient for the passengers.
“In case the passengers are informed of the cancellation less than two weeks before and up to 24 hours before the departure, the airline will have to offer alternate flight or refund the ticket, as acceptable to the concerned passenger,” the DGCA said.
Passengers who miss their connecting flight owing to a delay or cancellation of the originating flight must be compensated or provided with an alternate flight, according to the aviation authority.