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Flights Out, Spice Out! A peek into Know Your Rights by DGCA on Cancellations by Airlines


Spicejet flight cancellations since last few weeks has flooded the social media with customer complaints, also causing embarrassment to travel portals. Their facebook page appears to be showing a highly positive vibe with more sales campaigns planned for 2015 with tickets offered at extremely low costs. Interestingly the comments posted for refunds don’t seem to come up on page.

CSAT360 via its customer grievance portal, connected with both Spicejet, and the DGCA to understand what can be done to mellow the customer sentiments in these times where last minute flight cancellations can not only cause financial loss but also place your plans on great risk.

Interestingly the DGCA Know Your Rights section allows for protection to passengers in the event of cancellations. (reproduced below)

To What Extent you are Entitled for Compensation?
  • Airline is required to refund the ticket in case you are not willing to travel on its alternate or the subsequent flight or on another airline’s flight.
  • Your refund will be processed by the airline in accordance with CAR Section 3, Series M, Part II.
  • Airline is bound to provide you alternate travel opportunities at no additional cost, if you so desire.
  • If you have already reported at the airport to undertake journey on original flight and waiting for the alternate flight, airline is bound to provide you meals and refreshments.

You will not be entitled for any compensation in case you don’t accept alternate travel arrangements offered by the airline or when the cancellation occurs due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the airline.

Force Majeure Circumstances

You will not be entitled for compensation on account of cancellations and delays caused due to extraordinary circumstance(s) beyond the control of the airline, such as:

  • Natural disaster
  • Civil war
  • Political instability
  • Security risks
  • Insurrection or riot, flood, explosion, etc.
  • Government regulation or order affecting the aircraf.
  • Strikes and labour disputes causing cessation
  • Meteorological conditions
  • Cancellations and delays clearly attributable to Air Traffic Control (ATC)
  • Slowdown or interruption of work or any other causes that are beyond the control of the airline but which affect their ability to operate flights on schedule

Terms & Conditions

  • Airline is required to provide you information on cancellations of your flight as far in advance as possible of the scheduled time of departure.
  • If you have not been informed at least three hours in advance about the cancellation of your flight, the airline is liable to provide you compensation in accordance with CAR, Section 3, Series M, Part IV.
  • To get timely information on flight cancellation, please ensure that your contact details are provided to the airlines at the time of booking.

 For more details, refer to the regulation on “Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights.” as per CAR, Section 3, Series M, Part IV

Clearly the clause by DGCA (highlighted in red above) allowing Airlines to avoid any compensation to passengers due to their inability to fly for reasons beyond their control – is perhaps being used by Spicejet.  DGCA would do well to clarify in this matter, since every possible inefficiency of an Airline can be brought under this clause!

To quote a passenger, Mayank Shah, a businessman from Surat, who had booked tickets to SriLanka, almost 6 months in advance, now cancelled by Spicejet, quoting ‘operational reasons’ and communicated via SMS. ” I seek return flight tickets to the same destination for the same dates to go and come back as per the Itinerary as selected by me originally without charging anything extra from me from any other airlines  ….  I will be at the great financial loss … and also it will spoil my business reputation in the market.


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