Charges for excess baggage set to fly through the roof on Indian carriers

Excess baggage charges on domestic Indian flights are set to shoot up as the Delhi High Court has set aside a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) order that capped excess baggage charges. Until now these stood at INR 100 per kg for each extra kilo between 15 kg and 20 kg but the court said that the aviation regulatory body did not have jurisdiction over tariffs without being discriminatory.

While the excess baggage charge beyond 20 kg was open without any limit, the carriers can now go back to their old fee of up to INR 350 per kg beyond 15 kg itself and that could mean paying INR 250 more per kg in the 15-20 kg band. Since 2015, all Indian carriers except Air India had reduced free check-in baggage allowance for economy class domestic flyers from 20 kg to 15 kg and then started charging sums up to INR 350 per kg for each kilo beyond 15 kg. Based on complaints from passengers, the DGCA directed airlines not to charge more than Rs 100 per kg for extra baggage between 15 and 20 kg. Beyond 20 kg, no limits were set. Currently, all domestic carriers allow free checked-in baggage up to 15 kg. Only Air India allows free baggage up to 23 kg.

Since DGCA allowed fixing prices and the unbundling of on-board facilities to Indian carriers, most of them have sold flight seats and then charged extra for seat preferences, meals, priority baggage and some other services. The ultimate payout for the passenger has not been very different whether they are flying a low-cost carrier or a regular service airline.