Home / Companies / News /  Airlines to reimburse passengers for involuntary seat downgrade


Airlines in India will have to reimburse a passenger who has been downgraded involuntarily on a flight, as per the latest amendment to the civil aviation norms by Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation. 

The amendment will allow the passenger, who is downgraded involuntarily and is carried in a class lower than that for which the ticket is purchased, to be reimbursed by the airline, the regulator has said. 

Under the new norms, airlines will need to reimburse 75% of the cost of ticket including taxes if a passenger has been downgraded to a lower category of seat in a domestic flight.  

In case of international flights, a passenger will be reimbursed 30% of the cost of the ticket including taxes for flights of distance up to 1500 km. If the distance covered by an international flight is between 1500 km and 3500 km, then airlines will need to pay 50% of the cost of air fare to the passenger and in case the distance is beyond 3500 km, then airlines will reimburse 75% of the fare amount. 

The regulator has amended its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) Section-3, Series M Part IV “Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights" to strengthen the rights of air travellers affected by downgrading of their ticket, DGCA said. 

The regulator had proposed the amendment in December in view of rapid expansion of air services within India and on international routes to/from India and with the increase in the volume of passenger traffic. 

“It has been noticed that sometimes airlines downgrade passengers (tickets). For example, when a passenger who has booked his 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, overbooking, etc," the regulator had said. 

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