Budget carrier IndiGo on 28 October issued a statement on web check-in and advised that though it is not a mandatory requirement, it does allow “hassle-free experience” for commuters. This statement came amid rising complaints from air travellers related to web check-in.
Several significant grievances involve airlines categorizing all seats as paid, even when free web check-in is mandatory.
“About half of the complaints are related to refunds not given after ticket cancellation and showing every seat as paid despite free web check-in, among others,” Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said.
Commenting on the carrier’s post, one user said, “You guys should use the word recommended instead of mandatory then???”
Some other questioned, “Then why you guys send web check in is mandatory mails and charge for seats ???.” Another user said, “What kind of services are you doing. If you lose money while booking tickets, we have to struggle a lot to get back the lost money. This is called daylight robbery”
Another user wrote, “Only the middle seats in the back rows are sometimes free, sometimes not. So if 2 or more are travelling together you cannot get away from the charges if doing web check-in. Alternately go to the airport very early then the seat allocation at the counter or kiosk is free.”
“Web check-in by customers results in a significant cost savings for airlines as it reduces the requirement of ground staff. Airlines should pass these benefits to customers rather charging for preferred seats,” one user said.
In its recent report, The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also stated that flight problems, baggage and refunds were the major issues out of the 246 passenger complaints received by the scheduled domestic airlines in September.
“During September 2023, a total of 246 passenger-related complaints had been received by the scheduled domestic airlines. The number of complaints per 10,000 passengers carried for the month of September 2023 has been around 0.20,” the air traffic report released by DGCA read as reported by PTI.
The report stated that flight problems accounted for 41.9 percent of complaints, followed by baggage at 19.9 percent and refunds at 15.4 percent. The report further mentioned that 242 complaints out of 246 complaints have been addressed. Furthermore, the aviation regulator’s study states that although the DGCA received complaints about staff attitude (4.9%) and customer service (10.2%), only 0.4% of the complaints had to do with fares.
The report goes on to say that Indigo (61) received the most complaints, followed by Spice Jet (55) and Air India (54).
Amid this, the Centre has also called a meeting with senior officials from airlines and travel portals on 8 November to address consumer-related issues, Singh said as reported by ANI.
Singh also said that approximately 10,000 complaints related to the airline sector have been registered through the government’s National Consumer Helpline in the last one year and about half of the complaints are regarding consumers not getting refunds from the airlines after cancellation of the ticket.
“These issues are part of unfair trading practices. So, the Centre has called the meeting with airline officials to understand the extent of the issue and will also discuss how the airlines will address these issues so that the rights of consumers can be protected,” Singh said.
Singh also highlighted that some of the e-commerce platforms are practising dark patterns. “Some of the e-commerce platforms are using dark patterns. UN’s inter-governmental expert group of e-commerce is trying to identify these type of patterns. We are also trying to find out the tools to address the grievances,” Singh added as quoted by ANI.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)
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Updated: 29 Oct 2023, 01:08 PM IST
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