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New Delhi, August 18: Passengers of domestic flights will now have to pay more for excess baggage on private airlines. The move comes after the Delhi High Court on Thursday quashed a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) order limiting excess baggage charges to Rs 100 a kilogram till 20 kg. Justice Vibhu Bakhru set aside the June 10 last year’s DGCA circular asking private airlines to charge Rs 100 per extra kg till 20 kg instead of the earlier rate of ranging from Rs 220 to Rs 350. This means economy class passengers carrying more than 15kg check-in baggage on domestic flights will now have to pay more than before as excess baggage fee for domestic travel beyond the allowed limit.
Reports reveal that those checking-in more than 15kg without pre-booking may end up shelling out Rs 300 per kg. Earlier, passengers could carry up to 15 kg of check-in baggage free of cost on private airlines. According to a DGCA circular that was issued in June 2016, private airlines were directed to charge only Rs 100 per extra kg till 20 kg as against their earlier rates, ranging from Rs 220 to Rs 350. The circular had come into effect from July 1 last year as the court had not stayed it or deferred the date of implementation.
A day after the Delhi High Court set aside capping of fee for excess checked-in baggage on private airlines, India’s low-cost carrier airline-SpiceJet plans to hike the fee charged for excess baggage to Rs 300 per kg, “We are studying the HC order to see the reasons why our order has been set aside. We will take legal opinion and then decide on whether to go in for an appeal against the HC order”, a senior DGCA official was quoted by TOI.
It has to be noted that the hike in excess baggage may also be for pre-booking in other weight bands beyond 20kg. However, SpiceJet said that a final decision will be taken shortly. It was only Air India which said that economy class domestic flyers can check-in up to 25kg without any charge on baggage. In 2014, AirAsia did not want to give any free check-in baggage to passengers but was then directed by DGCA to allow 15 kg check-in baggage without any extra fee like the other airlines. AirAsia India was quoted by TOI in a statement saying, “We welcome this change proposed by the Delhi High court on the excess baggage fees. We will, however, evaluate this internally and see how this can be beneficial to both the guests as well as the airline, as we continue our endeavor to make flying affordable for all.” If the new charges are finalized, it will be implemented from Friday itself and all airlines are believed to follow the new structure.