As domestic airlines gear up for flying from May 25th after lockdown de-escalation, the Ministry of Civil Aviation releases a new set of guidelines for air travel. From capped airfares to web check-ins, here’s everything you need to know if you’re planning to fly soon.
Booking flights—airfares capped?
In order to ensure that passengers are not overcharged amidst the pent-up demand for air travel, the Ministry of Civil Aviation will keep a check on airfares for three months, i.e., till the end of August. Aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola told in a press meeting that airlines should not charge beyond the “capped fare”—for example, if the minimum airfare for a destination is 5000 INR and the maximum can go up to 15,000 INR, the capped fare will be the median of the lowest and highest slabs, which in this case, is 10,000 INR.
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From point of departure to the airport
- Follow social distancing and maintain minimum contact.
- Certify your health status on Aarogya Setu app and agree to the self-declaration form.
- Commute only by authorised taxis and use virtual payments.
- Only one check-in bag and cabin bag are allowed. Plan accordingly.
- People who are more vulnerable to infections—those with week immunity, very elderly and pregnant women are advised to avoid flying.
Check-in process before arriving at the airport
- Make a web check-in and secure a boarding pass.
- Download, print the baggage tag and baggage identification number and affix them on the bag.
- In case you can’t print the above, attach a label to your bag with your PNR number+name. If the PNR is for more than one passenger, declare it to be covering all the passengers.
Boarding process after arriving at the airport
- Make sure to wear a mask all along the way, and especially while entering the airport premises.
- Avoid using a trolley as far as possible, and follow social dancing rules as indicated by circles, squares and tensor barriers
- Report at the airport 2 hours before the time of departure. Never reach late.
- Arrive at the thermal screening facility near the entry gate
- After checking the temperature, show the status of Aarogya Setu app at the entry gate staff
- If Aarogya Setu app is not available, the passenger can proceed to a counter arranged by the airport where the app can be downloaded
- Show your identity card and boarding pass to the CISF staff at the entry gate
- Proceed to the baggage check-in counter and show the PNR to the staff and you shall receive an electronic receipt
- The check-in procedure including the baggage drop at least 60 minutes before departure time.
Security check-in before boarding the flight
- You will be guided through the pre-embarkation security screening
- Cooperate with the security staff and follow the instructions for security screening
- Bring only one hand luggage as per the size specified by the airlines
At the security hold area
- While you wait at the security hold area, follow the sanitisation protocols and social distancing
- Do not occupy the chairs marked “not for use”
- Adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene while proceeding to food&beverage area and other outlets
While boarding the flight
- Pay attention and follow the various communication displays providing updates on norms to be followed pre-boarding and on-flight.
- Collect the safety kit—three-layered surgical mask and sanitizer from the staff near the boarding gate
- Before scanning your boarding pass, wear the mask and sanitize your hands thoroughly
- Displaying your identity card is mandatory and the boarding pass would be self-scanned
- Follow social distancing while waiting in the boarding queue
On the flight
- Follow frequent sanitization and minimise face-to-face interaction
- Minimise the use of washrooms and avoid non-essential movement in the aisles
- Don’t queue outside the washrooms and the elderly & children can be accompanied by one person
- No in-flight meal service by the airlines, please refrain from consuming food during the flight
- No newspaper/magazine will be available on the flight
- If you feel uncomfortable, fatigued or any difficulty in breathing, report to the crew immediately
From arriving at the destination airport to reaching home, follow the same protocols as above. And as for the “self-declaration part”—
What are the passengers offering declaration to?
- I’ve not been tested COVID-positive
- I’m not suffering from any fever, cough or respiratory disease
- If I develop any of the above symptoms before/during flying I shall notify the health authorities immediately
- I’m not staying in a containment zone
- I shall make my contact details available for the airlines and respond to any kind of enquiry
- I’m eligible to travel as per the existing norms
- I agree that if I undertake air travel without meeting the eligibility criteria, I shall be subject to penal action
Additionally, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has instructed the airlines to ensure that the boarding pass is issued only after attesting the declaration form.
Answering questions about international travel, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted that “Once domestic travel eases, we will address the issue of international travel depending on the evolving situation.”
Source: Civil Aviation website