Government tells airlines to stop charging fee for check-in at airports

A scene at Chennai Airport. File

A scene at Chennai Airport. File | Photo Credit: B. Velankanni Raj

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) ordered airlines on Thursday to stop charging a fee from passengers who report to the airport without a web check-in.

Some airlines like IndiGo, Go First and SpiceJet were charging a fee of ₹200 for issuing boarding passes to passengers who arrive at the airport without a web check-in. The fee was imposed after the MoCA issued guidelines in May 2020 requiring air travellers to check in online and carry an e-boarding pass in a bid to reduce queues at airports and ensure social distancing as part of safety protocols against COVID-19.

"It has come to the notice of Ministry of Civil Aviation that airlines are charging additional amount for issuing boarding passes from the passengers seeking check-in at airport counters. Such additional amount is not in accordance with the instructions given in the aforesaid order as per extant provisions of Aircraft Rules, 1937," read the Ministry order issued on July 21.

It added that airlines were “advised” not to charge the additional amount as such a fee couldn’t be brought under the definition of “tariff” as provided under Rule 135 of the Aircraft Rules. As per the rule, airlines can determine tariff based on “relevant factors” that include “the cost of operation, characteristics of service, reasonable profit and the generally prevailing tariff”.

Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia had said in May that he would examine the issue after a passenger voiced her concerns on social media and likened the practice to a restaurant surcharging its guests for requesting a plate to eat from.

It was on May 25, 2020, when domestic flights resumed operation after a ban of two months during the first nationwide lockdown, that the MoCA issued an order providing guidelines to be followed by airlines, passengers and airports. It had said, "No physical check-in at airport counters would be done. Only those passengers with confirmed web check-in shall be allowed to enter the airport."

In May 2022, the ministry advised airlines to avoid imposing penalty on those who came to the airport without a web check-in.

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Printable version | Jul 21, 2022 11:18:39 pm |