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  Opinion   Edit  24 Apr 2024  AA Edit | Kids on flights: Welcome move

AA Edit | Kids on flights: Welcome move

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 25, 2024, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Apr 25, 2024, 12:00 am IST

Indian Aviation Regulator Implements Rule Change After 11 Years, Ensuring Children and Parents Sit Together Without Extra Charges

On May 2, 2013, the aviation regulator unbundled some services, which are considered not essential for every passenger, to make the air travel affordable. Ever since, the regulator has amended its regulations on unbundled services eight times — the latest being on April 23, 2024. (Representational Image: DC)
 On May 2, 2013, the aviation regulator unbundled some services, which are considered not essential for every passenger, to make the air travel affordable. Ever since, the regulator has amended its regulations on unbundled services eight times — the latest being on April 23, 2024. (Representational Image: DC)

India’s national civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has made it mandatory for airlines to allot a seat for children aged below 12 years next to the one of their parents without any extra payment as part of preferential seating.

On May 2, 2013, the aviation regulator unbundled some services, which are considered not essential for every passenger, to make the air travel affordable. Ever since, the regulator has amended its regulations on unbundled services eight times — the latest being on April 23, 2024.

In all previous regulations on unbundled services, the passenger was supposed to pay an extra fee which is in the range of Rs 300 to Rs 600 per ticket for getting preferential seats. If the passenger does not opt for the preferential seating arrangement, all members of a family may not be given adjacent seats. As this rule did not exempt children travelling with their parents, it led to the instances of passengers expressing their disappointment with airlines and regulators.

Responding to these complaints, DGCA has amended rules to make airlines ensure that children up to the age of 12 years are allocated seats alongside one of their parents/guardians who are travelling on the same PNR without the payment of an extra fee for preferential seating.

While this amendment is welcome and logical in nature, it is surprising that aviation authorities took so long — 11 years to be precise — to realise this basic requirement of children and their parents/guardians. It highlights how much Indian bureaucrats are unaware about the functioning of the real world, which does not share the privileges that babudom enjoys.

This incident must make the government ensure that civil servants — even after getting promoted to ranks above district collector — work in the field with people at regular intervals so that they are in tune with fast-changing India.

Tags: dgca, preferential seating, children on flights, aviation regulations, indian airlines