India rejects baggage charges for domestic flights

Proposals by Indian budget carriers to charge passengers to check-in baggage have been rejected by DCGA, the Indian aviation regulator.

The Indian Government has rejected a proposal by domestic airlines to charge passengers to check-in baggage

Three airlines, SpiceJet, Indigo and AirAsia, went to DCGA, the Indian aviation regulator, to ask to introduce a ‘zero baggage fares’, where passengers having no check in luggage would be given a discount on the ticket.

Currently the first 15 kilograms of checked-in baggage are included in the fare.

The Indian Government has ruled against as it in reality a charge for baggage, presented as a discount for zero baggage.

In April this year, DGCA allowed domestic carriers to unbundle their services and charge separately for facilities such as preferred seats, meals on board and use of lounge.

Minister of state for civil aviation Dr Mahesh Sharma said:

“We  have studied the proposal of airlines to charge passengers for check-in baggage and we have rejected the proposal. We don’t want to put this burden on our passengers.”

Ancillary revenue

Ancillary revenue / unbundled fares are a huge earner for airlines worldwide. Services that have been part of the fare are now viewed as an extra to be charged for.

Passengers might call it extra charges as most of these fees were previously included in the fare. Hence the terminology – unbundled fares.

British Airways, one of the very best airlines, introduced a zero-baggage fare which was popular on European flights. The fare was about $14 less than a baggage fare. In other words they charge about $14 to check-in a bag.

For a European flight, many passengers take hand baggage so this was obviously a popular fare.

Recently, BA changed the zero-baggage fare conditions. Now if you have a zero-baggage fare then you cannot select a seat at check-in!

Many passengers ask what do these have to do with each other? Is this just an attempt to make passengers buy a higher fare?

Other possible fees include reservation changes, extra legroom seating, Wi-Fi, water, carry-on bags and printing a boarding pass at the airport.


Internet links

DCGA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation)