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Flight Disruptions: 7 in 10 Passengers Report Cancelled or Rescheduled Flights, Demand 50% Penalties, Says Survey

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New Delhi:  In a year marked by frequent flight disruptions, a significant majority of air travelers in India have faced the inconvenience of cancelled or rescheduled flights. A comprehensive survey conducted by LocalCircles reveals that 7 out of 10 fliers have experienced at least one flight cancellation or rescheduling due to internal operational issues within airlines. This statistic underscores a growing dissatisfaction among passengers, who are now calling for stringent government measures against airlines for these disruptions.

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation had earlier addressed the issue, urging airlines to ensure fair treatment of passengers amid numerous complaints about delays and cancellations. Despite these efforts, including guidelines issued in December 2023 for compensating affected passengers, the problem persists. Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s efforts to enforce strict adherence to Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) regarding flight schedules and refunds seem to have had limited impact.

Social media platforms have been flooded with grievances from stranded passengers across various airports, including Delhi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, and others. Incidents range from physical altercations with airline staff to passengers dining on the tarmac. The lack of clear communication from airlines has been a significant pain point, with many alleging that airlines have used excuses like fog to mask operational inefficiencies.

The LocalCircles survey, garnering 23,000 responses from across 318 districts, indicates that internal reasons, not weather or security, are primarily to blame for these disruptions. A staggering 9 out of 10 passengers believe the government should mandate airlines to pay penalties ranging from 25-50% of the ticket value in cases of cancellations or reschedules due to low load factors or other internal reasons.

The survey’s findings also highlight a perceived double standard in the industry. While airlines are quick to deny boarding for minor delays by passengers and charge for rebooking, they face no substantial penalties for causing similar inconveniences. This discrepancy calls for regulatory intervention to impose appropriate penalties on airlines, which could lead to better resource management and improved on-time performance.

In conclusion, the survey results from LocalCircles paint a clear picture of the current state of air travel in India. With 7 in 10 fliers affected by flight disruptions and a strong majority demanding government action, it’s evident that a policy shift is necessary to balance the scales and enhance passenger satisfaction in the Indian aviation sector.



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