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DGCA directs airlines to seat kids up to 12 years with their parents

By Deepak Patel
April 24, 2024 22:26 IST
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A child who is less than 12 years of age must be allotted a seat beside at least one parent or a guardian with whom he is travelling, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told airlines on Tuesday.

The DGCA has said that the air transport circular on unbundling of services and fees by scheduled airlines is being modified.

It allows airlines to charge for excess baggage, preferential seats, meals, snacks, drinks, and carriage of musical instruments.


It is being done after the regulator came across several instances where children below the age of 12 years were not seated with a parent/guardian.

“Such unbundled services are provided on ‘opt-in’ basis by airlines and are not mandatory in nature.

"There is also a provision for auto seat assignment to the passengers who have not selected any seat for web check-in before scheduled departure,” it noted.

“Airlines shall ensure that children up to the age of 12 years are allocated seats with at least one of their parents/guardians, who are travelling on the same PNR and a record of the same shall be maintained,” the DGCA said.

On November 10 last year, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh had written to Aviation Secretary Vumlunmang Vualnam, expressing concern about airlines charging separately for seat selection during web check-in.

He pointed out that offering free mandatory web check-in and later charging for seat selection misleads consumers and amounts to “unfair trade practice” under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Vualnam responded on November 30, saying that the airlines were free to charge when passengers opted to avail “preferential seats” during the web check-in process under the current rules.

Photograph: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

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