79 pc domestic air travellers say airlines compromise on comfort

DGCA fine on Indigo, SpiceJet tops list of unsatisfying airlines

Aviation

Business

May 29, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

79 pc domestic air travellers say airlines compromise on comfort

41 pc fliers say flight delays their top complaint about Indian airline companies

The decision by aviation regulator DGCA to impose a fine of INR 500,000 on Indigo for its denial of boarding to a special-needs child and his parents comes just a day after a survey that shows most domestic air travellers highly dissatisfied with service quality of Indian airlines.

5/5 - (5 votes)

With the rise of several complaints by many passengers towards the Indian airlines, LocalCircles, one of the community social media platform in India has conducted a survey regarding the experiences of these passengers.

After a quick enquiry, the Director General of Civil Aviation, DGCA, which is the aviation regulator of India, has decided to penalise IndiGo, the largest airline in the country, for the case in which its ground staff denied boarding to a special-needs child and his parents at the Ranchi Airport earlier this month.

After the incident, whose video became viral, IndiGo had claimed that the child “could not board the flight…as he was in a state of panic”.

However, the DGCA did not find the response of the airline company to be satisfactory. “It has been observed that the handling of the special child by the IndiGo ground staff was deficient and ended up exacerbating the situation,” it said in a statement on Saturday.

A more compassionate handling would have smoothened nerves, calmed the child and obviated the need for the extreme step resulting in denied boarding to the passengers, it added.

Passengers extremely dissatisfied

The action taken by DGCA against the largest airline in the country that controls over 50 pc marketshare of the domestic airline business comes on the heels of a survey of Indian air passengers that shows very high level of dissatisfaction.

The dissatisfaction level has risen dramatically in the post-pandemic era and mainly centres around various aspects of flying – ranging from delays, behaviour of staff to quality of inflight meals and service. This comes at a time when Indian domestic air travel is headed to pre-pandemic levels.

According to a compiled data by ICRA, domestic air passenger traffic were estimated to log a 69 pc year-on year growth at 35.7 million between January and April this year. In April alone, about 10.9 million passengers were recorded to have taken flights.

Despite or perhaps along with an improvement in the domestic air traffic, several passengers have been complaining on various media platforms about issues they have faced with these airlines. Many of these complaints involved flight delays, behaviour of the staff, baggage handling and lack of timely information amongst many others.

For instance, recently Spicejet received a lot of flak on the social media when it had failed to communicate at the earliest that its flight was delayed and also when passengers had to spend more than 45 minutes inside an aeroplane in the hot weather when the Air Traffic Controller had stopped the airline from flying due to alleged payment issues.

Bearing these issues in mind LocalCircles, an NGO, conducted a survey to unveil top concerns that passengers have with Indian airlines. The survey in total consists of 33,000 responses from over 15,000 airline passengers across 274 districts in India. Local circles says that 61 pc respondents were men while 39 pc were women. 49 pc of the respondents were from Tier 1 cities, 34 pc from Tier 2 and 17 pc from tier 3, 4 cities and rural areas.

When these respondents were asked about their top complaints regarding Indian airlines, 41 pc responded it was flight delays, for 37 pc it was in-flight services including meals and entertainment while 28 pc complained about poor aircraft interiors including seats and entertainment system. For another 22 pc the behaviour of the staff inside the flight and airport was at the top of their complaints, 30 pc opted for the poor handling of boarding, check-in procedures and baggage handling, according to another 28 pc it involved the ‘timely information sharing,’ while 7 pc cited other reasons, the remaining 6 pc did not have any opinion.

Following the first question, second question asked the respondents whether they felt that the airlines were compromising comfort and cutting corners after the pandemic. In response, only 15 pc disagreed. Majority of the 79 pc confirmed yes, while the remaining 6 pc did not have any opinion.

On the question of which airline they were most dissatisfied, 18 pc of them said it was Indigo. For 28 pc it was SpiceJet, 2 pc said Vistara, 14 pc said Air India, 7 pc said Go First while 6 pc said AirAsia India. The remaining 25 pc did not have any opinion.

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