New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed airlines to ensure the timely redressal of all grievances by passengers, saying it is a topmost priority and warned of stringent action if any laxity is found.
The DGCA said this in a meeting with appellate authority and nodal officers of all scheduled domestic airlines at its headquarters in the national capital on Thursday.
It also directed the airlines to ensure that complaints of passengers on social media platforms should be attended to promptly and resolved at the earliest.
During the meeting, the civil aviation watchdog said that a number of steps have to be taken to avoid inconvenience to the passengers.
"Prompt redressal of passenger complaints should be the topmost priority and must be attended to as per the relevant provisions of the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs). Airlines must periodically update the details of their nodal officer and appellant authority on their website," the DGCA said in a statement.
It said that the airlines should make all efforts to send SMS in case there is a delay in flight beyond 30 minutes or a boarding gate change has taken place at the airport.
"Airlines must send repeated SMS messages after every 30 minutes to keep the passengers updated for the flight delay/ cancellation/ boarding gate change," the DGCA outlined.
Recently, the civil aviation watchdog had learnt that many domestic passengers were facing ticket refund issues as their tickets were booked through their respective travel agents.
To mitigate this problem, the DGCA has asked all airlines to ensure better coordination with their travel agents and reduce the inconvenience faced by the passengers while obtaining a refund after booking tickets through travel agents.
"The airlines must keep close coordination with their travel agents. The travel agents must share the mobile numbers of the travelling passenger with the airlines for flight information updates. All necessary assistance must be provided to the passengers for their connecting flights," the DGCA said.
The civil aviation watchdog said in the event of a delay, airlines should make proper arrangements to ensure refreshments and meals to the passengers.
"In case of delay, airlines should make appropriate arrangement to provide water, refreshment and meals as per the provisions of the CARs. The airlines shall ensure the refund of airline tickets through a travel agent/portal in a timely manner. All help should be provided to senior citizens and passengers with reduced mobility," it said.
"Complaints on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook etc. should be attended promptly and to the extent possible, must be resolved. Airlines must ensure proper conduct and behaviour of their employees towards passengers. Any laxity in the matter shall be viewed seriously," DGCA said.