Beginning of this week, the regulator of Indian aviation DGCA and the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) were slammed with a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of India, asking them to explain all the charges that are imposed on top of the base fare of the ticket, such as the transaction fee which pops up just when you are ready to enter the payment details on the credit card page, something like this:
The industry and its regulator were asked to explain the extra charges, and whether these had the backing/approval of the government. For instance, even the Mumbai and Delhi airport were asked to explain the extra User Development Fee charged. Here is an excerpt from the full newsreport:
But Justices DK Jain and Madan Lokur, hearing a petition that raised objections to the User Development Fee (UDF) being charged by different airlines, went beyond the scope of the petition to ask regulator DGCA, the FIA and the Delhi and Mumbai airport operators DIAL and MIAL to explain the rationale of imposing extra charges on passengers such as UDF, Airport Development Fee and transaction fee.
The DGCA was asked to explain whether it had taken any action against any airline for violating their tariff bands. The court also asked the regulator to state in an affidavit all circulars and orders issued to airlines on tariff fixation and collection of other charges from passengers.
These charges first came into existence in June 2012, to the best of what I know and Jet Airways started the practice.
It seems the first judgement have already been made by the court within 2 days, and airlines have been asked to resist from charging any sort of transaction fee on the customers, under whatever name. While I don’t think this will lead to refunds, you can expect to see at least 150 Rs. per passenger charges coming down in the days ahead on the domestic legs, since fees such as this will go away.
(H.T.: Pradeep Nalluri)
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