The Government of India has come out with the final set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for those availing flight services in the coming times, as they are set to resume in a calibrated manner from May 25, 2020. Naturally, in these unusual times, the entire experience of air travel is going to be unusual as well, since there will be a lot of changes in the practices undertaken at the airports in order to maximise the safety of passengers, crew and staff.
With all these changes taking place and air travel set to resume in a matter of days, there might be some questions on your mind. So we have put together a complete step-by-step description of the practices that passengers have to undertake, the new safety measures being applied at the airports and what should you be doing before and after your air travel.
When are flights starting?
Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced the resumption of domestic flight services from May 25. However, it will run on one-third capacity of air carrier's actual summer schedule.
What does calibrated resumption of flights mean?
As per Hardeep Singh Puri, Civil Aviation Minister, calibrated resumption means domestic flights won't resume in a complete manner as of now. Government has allowed only one-third of flights to operate on major metro routes, or non metro cities with above 100 flights.
Does lesser flights mean I have to pay more?
No. In order to control the pricing, govt has capped the minimum and maximum price that airlines can charge from flyers, basis flight duration. The pricing has been decided basis the flight duration, which is divided into 7 sections. The pricing is applicable from May 25 to August 24, however the number of flights can be increased eventually given the response from flyers.
What is the maximum I have to pay?
Here's the minimum and maximum flight prices as decided by the govt:
Less than 40 min: Minimum Rs 2000 and Maximum Rs 6000
40-60 min: Minimum Rs 2500 and Maximum Rs 7500
60-90 min: Minimum Rs 3000 and Maximum Rs 9000
90-120 min: Minimum Rs 3500 and Maximum Rs 10000
120-150 min: Minimum Rs 4500 and Maximum Rs 13000
150-180 min: Minimum Rs 5500 and Maximum Rs 15700
180-210 min: Minimum Rs 6500 and Maximum Rs 18600
These prices are for economy class and exclusive of UDF, PSF and GST. Govt has also instructed the airlines to book at least 40 percent ticket under the mean average price of selected category.
On the busiest route like Delhi-Mumbai sector, pricing will be capped from Rs 3,500 to Rs 10,000. This pricing will be applicable from May 25 to August 24. To check that airlines are not selling tickets at higher price, 40 percent of the tickets will be sold below the mean average of Rs 3,500- Rs 10,000 price capping.
What are the things I should keep in mind before leaving for the airport?
-Maintain social distancing and minimum touch.
-Certify your health status through the Aarogya Setu App or a self-declaration form.
-Use digital payment methods.
- Keep only one check-in bag and one cabin as that is all that is allowed.
-Vulnerable persons such as very elderly, pregnant ladies, passengers with ailments are advised to avoid air travel.
-Ensure web check-in and obtain a boarding pass.
-Download the baggage tag/baggage identification number, print it and affix it on the bag at a prominent place.
-In case you are not able to print the baggage tag, mention the PNR number along with your name on a thick piece of paper and affix it/tag it with a strong string.
-Before entering the terminal, ensure that you are wearing a mask.
-Report at the airport as per revised reporting time of 2 hours.
-Travel in an authorized taxi/personal vehicle following the norms specified by MHA.
-During transit to the airport, take all precautions to prevent infection.
What should I not do while reaching the airport?
-Do not reach the airport late as the new safety processes take time.
-You should not travel if you are staying in a containment zone.
-You should not travel if you have been tested positive for COVID-19.
-If you are not permitted to fly and you still undertake the air journey, you shall be liable for penal action.
What are the questions I can expect in the self-declaration form?
Your declaration will be on the following lines;
-I/we am/are not residing in any containment zone.
-I/we am/are not suffering from any fever/cough/any respiratory distress.
-I/we am are not under quarantine.
-If I/we develop any of the above-mentioned symptoms, I shall contact the concerned health authorities, immediately.
-I/we have not tested COVID-19 positive.
-I/we am eligible to travel as per the extant norms.
-I shall make my mobile number/contact details available to the airlines whenever required by them.
-I understand that if I undertake the air journey without meeting the eligibility criteria, I would be liable to penal action.
-The airlines shall ensure that the boarding pass is issued only after the passenger confirms to the above declaration.
-In case of a PNR having more than one passenger, the declaration would be deemed to be covering all the passengers mentioned in the PNR.
What should I do once I have reached the airport?
-Continue to wear a mask throughout the journey.
-Get down from the vehicle with the face mask on and with required documents.
-Arrive at the thermal screening facility near the entry gate.
-Get yourself checked for temperature and display the status of Aarogya Setu app to the staff at the entry gate.
-In case you don’t have the Aarogya Setu app, you will be facilitated to a counter provided by the airport where the app can be downloaded.
-Show your identity card, the boarding pass/e-boarding pass to the CISF staff at the entry gate.
-Proceed to the baggage drop counter and show your PNR to the staff. Avoid using baggage trolley as much as possible.
-An electronic receipt will be sent to you.
-Follow social distancing as per the specification at the airports through markings like circle, square or tensor barriers.
-Complete the check-in procedure and baggage drop at least 60 minutes before departure.
What should I do at the security check-in?
-You will find arrangements that have been made at airports to guide you through to the ore-embarkation security screening.
-Follow the directions announced by the authorities and divest of all metal on the body to facilitate the security screening.
-You can bring only one hand luggage as per a specified size allowed by the airlines.
-Cooperate with the security staff by following the instructions for your own safety and security.
Once I have crossed the security check, what happens next?
-Proceed to the security hold area after security screening.
-While waiting at the security hold area, maintain social distancing and sanitisation protocols.
-Do not use chairs marked ‘Not For Use’.
-While going around food and beverages shops, retail outlets, etc, you have to be aware of social distancing and maintain hygiene. Also, you should be aware of the locations where sanitisers would be made available.
-Dispose of biohazardous materials like used masks, gloves, tissues etc. in the yellow-coloured disposable bins/bags placed at strategic locations at the airport.
What will I have to do while boarding the flight?
-Be attentive towards various communication material displayed at the airport about various health advisories relating to pre-boarding and during the flight precautions.
-Collect the safety kit (three-layered surgical mask and sanitizer) from the airlines near the boarding gate.
-Wear a mask and sanitise your hands before proceeding to the boarding gate for scanning of the boarding pass.
-Be attentive towards boarding announcements and reach the boarding queue while social distancing.
-Display your identity card. Check-in of the boarding pass will be done by you via self-scanning of the e-boarding pass.
What happens during the flight?
-Strictly follow hygiene and sanitation and keep face-to-face interaction at the minimum.
-Minimize the use of toilets and avoid any non-essential movement in the aisles.
-Queuing at the toilets is not allowed. Only one companion for children and the elderly would be allowed.
-There will be no meal service in the aircraft. Water bottle to be made available in the galley area or on the seats.
-You cannot have eatables during the flight.
-No newspaper/magazine will be available and there will be no onboard sale of any item.
-If you feel uncomfortable, fatigued or have respiratory distress, it has to be brought to the notice of the crew immediately.
What will be the procedure to get off of the aircraft?
-The disembarkation from the airlines would be sequential.
-To disembark, you have to strictly follow social distancing.
-Sanitation has to be maintained at the arrival gate, aerobridges, coaches, jet ladders, ramps etc.
-Use trolleys in the arrival area sparingly.
How would we collect our baggage post the flight?
-You have to wait at the baggage hold area till the baggage arrives, which will be done in batches.
-If you are a transit passenger, you will not be allowed to come out of the transit area.
And what do I do have to once I exit the airport?
-You will have to hire authorised taxis.
-Follow social distancing and hygiene while travelling in any mode of transportation.
-On arrival at the destination, adhere to health protocols as prescribed by the destination.