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Unruly fliers now face lifetime ban

The Union government announced that air passengers can now be banned for a lifetime in case of an unruly behaviour on flights, by both domestic and foreign airlines.

The ban will range between three months to a lifetime depending upon the gravity of the offence. Physical gestures, verbal harassment and being unruly while inebriated, will comprise unruly behaviour.

The trigger for a no-fly list was an incident related to Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad in which he had allegedly beaten up an Air India staffer which led to airlines imposing a temporary ban on his travel.

What the new DGCA rules specify:

  • For physical gestures, verbal harassment and being unruly while inebriated, there will be a ban on passengers for up to three months
  • For physically abusive behaviour including pushing, kicking, hitting or sexual harassment, up to six months
  • For life-threatening behaviour the ban may range from two years to a lifetime
  • In case a passenger is a repeat offender, the duration of the flying ban will be twice that of his previous ban
  • On receiving complaint of unruly behaviour from the pilot-in-command, airlines will refer the matter to an internal committee chaired by a retired district and sessions judge
  • The committee will include a representative each from different airline and passenger associations or consumer forums
  • The internal committee will decide the quantum of ban based on evidence produced by both airline and passenger, including eye-witnesses, within a period of 30 days, failing which the passenger will be free to fly
  • The passenger will not be allowed to fly till the decision of the internal committee
  • However, there will be no compensation in case the allegations by the airlines are proven wrong

Safeguarding the interest of passengers:

  • Aggrieved passengers can appeal within 60 days to an Appellate Committee, constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and chaired by a High Court judge
  • A national no-fly list for passenger safety will be formulated by the government
  • The list will be applicable only for on-board behaviour of the passengers, unruly behaviour on airport premises will be dealt with by security agencies under applicable penal provisions
  • To avoid mistaken identities, the government will soon make unique identification mandatory at the time of booking flight

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