The DGCA also said the airlines must ensure the refund of airline tickets through travel agents or portals swiftly.
New Delhi: Sending SMSes for delays in flights and change of gates, timely refunds, prompt grievance redressal, coordination with travel agents, and better communications are some of the steps the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation wants all domestic airlines to take immediately to reduce inconvenience to passengers.
At a meeting with the appellate authority and nodal officers of domestic airlines, DGCA Arun Kumar laid emphasis on adherence to the provisions of the Civil Aviation Requirem-ents (CAR) and asked them to be proactive in addressing the grievances of passengers.
Senior officials said the DGCA office receives several complaints from passengers on a daily basis and the meeting was an attempt to “improve things and do away with the chalta hai” attitude in the aviation sector.
The airlines have been asked to send SMS to passengers in case of flight delays beyond 30 minutes or a change in boarding gate, and keep passengers regularly informed.
“The airlines should make all efforts to send SMSes in case there is a flight delay beyond 30 minutes or there is a gate change at the airport. Airlines must send repeated SMS after every 30 minutes to keep passengers updated on flight delays/ cancellation/ boarding gate change,” the DGCA told the airlines.
In case of delays, the airlines were asked to arrange for water, refreshments and meals as per norms and all help should be provided to senior citizens and all fliers with reduced mobility. The CAR norms say airlines shall give these facilities if the passenger has checked in on time, and if the airline expects a delay of more than two hours from its original announced scheduled time of departure.
In addition, the airlines were asked to coordinate closely with travel agents. The travel agents now have to share the mobile numbers of travelling passengers with the airlines for flight information updates and all necessary assistance has to be provided to the passengers for their connecting flights.
The DGCA also said the airlines must ensure the refund of airline tickets through travel agents or portals swiftly. The airlines were told that prompt redressal of passenger complaints should be their top priority and must be attended to as per relevant CAR provisions. Complaints on the social media like Twitter, Facebook, etc., must be promptly attended to and resolved. Besides, airlines need to periodically update details of their nodal officers and appellant authority on their website.
The airlines were also asked to ensure proper conduct and behaviour of their employees towards passengers. “Any laxity in this will be viewed seriously,” the DGCA told the airlines.