The number of complaints against Jet Airways was around 7,500, while grievances against Air India stood at 9,000 during the period. Low-cost carriers have, however, improved their service.
The increasing number of passengers travelling by air in India has led to a growing number of complaints against the airlines across all sectors in the country. In the last three years, over 33,000 complaints against different airlines were received by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Complaints against full service air carrier Jet Airways and Air India (domestic) have been the maximum between 2015-2017. Cumulatively, the complaints against Jet Airways had been somewhere around 7,500 during the said time period, while complaints against Air India stood at 9,000 during the same time.
However, Jet Airways, according to the DGCA report, has been able to solve almost 95% of the complaints they had received from their passengers. However, the pendency of cases of complaints against Air India remains the highest among all schedule domestic airlines in India. Some 3,000 cases are still pending before Air India for disposal, having a rate of redressal of just 60%.
Low cost carriers have, however, been improving their service, with decreasing number of complaints over the year. Indigo, which received some 1,500 complaints in 2015, received just 1,200 complaints during 2016 and in 2017, the complaints against Indigo dropped to 1,000. SpiceJet, another low cost carrier, has also shown slight decline in the number of complaints that it had been receiving against its service from passengers.
According to sources in the DGCA and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, complaints against the airlines range from issues that relate to refunding for cancelled flights, flight delays, staff or crew behaviour and also, recently, increasing problems of boarding and check-in.
A senior official at the DGCA said, “Denial of boarding and problems faced at the check-in counters, along with flight delays, comprise the maximum number of complaints. Flights overbook and then the airlines fail to comply with the DGCA guidelines. This also leads to altercation with passengers and misbehaviour of staff and crew members are also reported.”
The government had launched the AirSewa Application and web portal in 2016 for registration of grievances against airlines directly with the DGCA or the Ministry for speedy redressal.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said that over 10,000 complaints were received through this app and 90% of the complaints were solved successfully by the Ministry.
However, aviation industry insiders have pointed out that the lack of infrastructure at most airports is the main reasons why passengers are discomforted.
An airline staffer with one of the leading airline companies in India, who did not wish to be named, said, “Most of the airports, barring a few, do not have the capacity to hold the increasing passenger and air traffic, which is the reason why delays of flights do take place. The airports’ terminal buildings are also not being able to handle the passenger load pressure, leading to chaos and long queues and causing discomfort to passengers. For example, to land in Delhi or Mumbai at peak hours, clearances are sought after hovering in the skies for at least 15-20 minutes. This causes the delay. We need to improve our infrastructure at the airports first.”