Earlier, a Parliamentary Standing Committee had been set up to survey the functioning of various airlines in India. It has come up with a report card which slams most of the airlines for the ways they do their businesses. The issues mentioned range from staff behaviour &, food to betraying the paying customer. In view of its findings, the Committee has made certain recommendations to the Civil Aviation Ministry.
-Air fare charged being too high. High cancellation charges. During festivals and for bookings made closer to the date of travel, some airlines charge more than 10 times the advance booking fare. Currently, domestic airlines charge a cancellation fee of Rs 3,000 or base fare plus fuel surcharge per passenger, whichever is lower.
-The check-in process and collection of luggage are cumbersome and time consuming. The helpless passenger does not get a quick check-in, sees long queues and a undergoes a tedious process of security check.
-Airlines do not efficiently man the check-in counters and create artificial situations to deny boarding to confirmed ticket holders. Some airlines wilfully create long queues at the check-in counters to delay the process of check-in so that passengers miss their scheduled flights. This compels them to buy tickets at exorbitant prices to travel in the next available flight.
Fix an upper limit on air fares for every sector. Airlines should not be allowed to charge more than 50% of the base fare for cancellation. All airports should offer e-boarding facility and government must take steps to decongest airports.
Discourteous and rude behaviour by both ground staff and cabin crew. A recent incident cited when a passenger was manhandled by Indigo staff. Only a few of such incidents get reported in the media and a large number of them remain unreported. The problems affecting the airlines are not personal; it is institutional. An institution like Indigo has not yet developed a consumer friendly approach in dealing with its passengers.
Airlines need to become passenger friendly and the staff should learn to say “Please” and “Thank you”.
The committee said that merely taking strict action against the employees does not absolve the airline of its guilt.
The quality of food served on flights has deteriorated. Jet Airways has admitted this, and has assured that it will improve in a few weeks. The chief difference between a low cost carrier and a full cost carrier is the quality of food. Food served by Spice Jet, Air Asia and Air India are okay. Vistara's is the best.
Airlines should offer better quality food and change menus periodically. It is unacceptable for airlines to serve unsatisfactory food after having charged customers for it.