In bad news for air travellers, check-in baggage may be charged if airlines have their way. Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is looking into a proposal made by three Indian carriers by which travellers will have to shell out for every kilogram of the checked luggage. The proposal, at the same time, envisages providing incentives for passengers who travel light.
A senior DGCA official said today that SpiceJet, Indigo and AirAsia have approached the regulator with the idea of ‘zero baggage fare’, whereby passengers having no check in luggage would be given a discount on the ticket.
However, other airlines, including full-service carriers, are also reported to be in favour of ‘zero baggage fare’.
Such a system would do away with the current practice of passengers being allowed to carry up to 15 kg of check in luggage free of cost. In April this year, DGCA had allowed domestic carriers to unbundle their services and charge separately for facilities such as preferred seats, meals on board and use of lounges.
The ‘zero baggage fare’ plan, part of efforts to unbundle the services offered by airlines, is being examined by DGCA and a decision is expected soon. In this regard, the regulator has gathered the views from all domestic airlines, the official added.
According to the official, “since there are some gaps” in the responses provided by certain carriers, the regulator has sought more clarifications from them.
Before implementing the plan of ‘zero baggage fare’, various nitty gritties, including on when to give the discount to the passenger having no check in luggage, need to be sorted out.
“We want to have a uniform system for all airlines before deciding on when and how to implement the proposal,” the official said.