Denied boarding owing to overbooking by the airline? Well, now you can claim compensation of up to Rs. 20,000 for it.
With airline companies fighting it out with each other by slashing airfares every now and then, flight travel has become really affordable these days. But even though budget airlines may be abounding, external factors that are often not the fault of passengers, like acute shortage of pilots (as has been the case with Indigo lately), or the closure of airspace over Pakistan owing to recent tensions between India and Pakistan, can often lead to last-minute flight cancellations.
As is the present scenario, passengers have no way of being compensated for last-minute cancellations owing to overbooking or are not informed of the flight cancellation in advance. This is set to change soon once the new directive proposed by the government comes into effect.
Let’s take a closer look.
What Does The New Rule Say?
The new rule proposed by the government and submitted to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for implementation proposes that a passenger can claim compensation of up to Rs. 20,000 if the airline denies boarding to the passenger due to the flight being overbooked and if the airline does not rebook him/her on another flight within the next hour of the timing of the earlier flight which the passenger wasn’t allowed to board.
Passengers will also be eligible for compensation if they are not informed about the flight cancellation in advance. In case of last-minute cancellations, a passenger will be able to claim up to Rs. 10,000 or a full refund of fares, whichever is lower. Under the new rules, passengers will also be able to make changes to their name and other details free of cost within 24 hours of booking the ticket. In the case of loss of baggage, the airline will have to pay the passenger up to Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 350/kg for damage to cargo.
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When Will The New Rules Come Into Effect?
Although the DGCA has not confirmed any date regarding the implementation of these newly-proposed rules, these rules are expected to meet some opposition from airlines as they’re likely to increase their financial burden. Nonetheless, the DGCA ministry is expected to go ahead with the implementation of this policy.
Will Travel Insurance Cover Flight Cancellation?
When you’ve planned your trip down to the last detail, even a slight flight delay can throw all your plans out of gear. This is why it makes a lot of sense to always buy Travel Insurance to cover for all kinds of eventualities. For scenarios like baggage loss or trip cancellation, a Travel Insurance plan can come in handy.
Let’s take a detailed look:
When you’re travelling across countries or have a long layover, sometimes you may be unfortunate enough to find that your checked-in baggage was misdirected to a different destination than the intended one. Having a Travel Insurance policy can actually help you tackle this scenario with ease.
But here are few pointers that you need to keep in mind:
- Travel Insurance covers only your checked-in baggage and not your cabin baggage.
- Baggage delay will be covered by the insurance provider only if the delay has been for more than 12 hours.
- In order to reimburse expenses for your lost baggage, some insurance providers may even request for original bills for clothes, toiletries, and other essentials as proof.
- Remember to submit the ‘property irregularity report’ as proof of your baggage loss or delay to your insurer. Your airline will have this document.
Trip Cancellation Or Delay:
If your flight gets cancelled or severely delayed by the airline owing to reasons like strike action, inclement weather conditions or reasons that are beyond the airline’s control, you might not be eligible for compensation from your Travel Insurance provider.
However, depending on your Travel Insurance policy, you might still be able to reclaim all costs if your flight is delayed by more than 24 hours or if your flight is cancelled and the airline doesn’t rebook you on an alternative flight within 24 hours.
If you’re not sure that your Travel Insurance plan covers trip cancellation or trip delays, remember to read the fine print or check with your insurer right before you embark on your trip. This will save you from unnecessary back and forth scenarios and from making frantic calls when what you should really be doing is enjoying your vacation.
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Should You Buy Travel Insurance From Your Travel Agent?
While your travel agent may sell you Travel Insurance on the pretext that it’s cheaper, you may not be aware that these travel agents get paid a commission for selling you Travel Insurance. In fact, some insurance companies may even pay the agent a higher commission that may prompt the agent to push their policy on to you even if the policy may not cover all that you’re looking for.
Also, travel agents have tie ups with a limited number of insurers. You might get a better deal from an insurer that is outside the pool of your travel agent. While you’re on vacation, it is possible that due to a sudden emergency, you may have to cut short your trip. Or you may even want to extend your stay by a couple of days after the packaged tour ends. Some Travel Insurance policies are customised to the agent’s arrangements. The insurance may only apply if you stick to the itinerary of the agent. That’s why it’s best to buy your own Travel Insurance so that even if there’s a sudden change in your travel plans, you’re not left unprotected.
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