What is the compensation for flight delay in India?

Last updated on May 14, 2024

Experiencing a delayed flight can significantly disrupt your travel plans. However, various airlines, including prominent ones like Qatar Airways, are obligated to offer flight delay compensation under the Indian aviation regulations. These compensations are put in place by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which oversees the functioning of the aviation sector in India. The rules surrounding the delay, cancellation, or denied boarding situations vary, and it’s essential for passengers to understand their rights and entitlements in such scenarios.

Rights and Compensation for Delayed Flights in India

Under the Indian Air Passenger Charter 2019, compensation for delayed flights in India is provided. However, the charter distinguishes between three categories of delay: under three hours, between three and twenty-four hours, and beyond twenty-four hours. Compensation for under three hours delay typically involves the airline providing free meals and refreshments to the passengers during the wait. In the case of delays ranging between three and twenty-four hours, passengers are entitled to free hotel accommodation (for an outstation passenger) or rest at the airport lounge (for same station passengers). For delays extending beyond 24 hours, airlines must offer an option of full refund on the ticket alongside free hotel stay (for outstation passengers).

Compensation During Denied Boarding scenarios

In situations where passengers are denied boarding due to overbooking or unavailability of seats, the DGCA mandates airline companies to provide compensation. If the airline arranges an alternative flight within one hour of the original scheduled departure, no compensation is required. However, if the delay extends beyond one hour but less than two hours, passengers are entitled to 200% of booked one-way basic fare, capped at 10,000 INR. If the delay is more than two hours, the compensation increases to 400% of booked one-way basic fare or 20,000 INR whichever is less.

Does Air India compensate for delayed flights?

Air India, like other airlines operating within the Indian territory, is bound by the same regulations. They are obligated to offer compensation as stipulated by the DGCA for delayed, cancelled flights or in cases of denied boarding. However, it’s crucial understanding that the compensation is subject to certain conditions, including extenuating circumstances like weather conditions, political unrest, or security risks where the airline might not be held legally accountable.


In conclusion, delayed flight compensation in India is built upon the principles of passenger rights and entitlements. While Indian airlines, including Qatar Airways and Air India, are obligated to offer compensations for delays and denied boarding, there are certain conditions under which these compensations can be claimed. It is recommended for passengers to understand the DGCA rules and regulations, and airline guidelines in such situations to assert their rights and secure appropriate compensation.

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