Allot children below 12 seat next to parents: DGCA

Allot children below 12 seat next to parents: DGCA

NEW DELHI: Children below the age of 12 have to be allotted a seat next to one of their parents, the country’s civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday directed the airlines.

The DGCA has revised the Air Transport Circular (ATC)-01 of 2024 titled, “Unbundle of Services and fees by scheduled airlines” as per which, some services like zero baggage, preferential seating, meals / snack/ drink charges, charges for carriage of musical instruments etc. have been allowed. Such unbundled services are provided on “opt-in” basis by the 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. “In view of the various instances that came to the notice of DGCA wherein children below the age of 12 years were not seated along with their parent/guardian, the existing Air Transport Circular 01 of 2021 has been suitably modified to incorporate the following provision with a view to alleviate any such situation in future…Airlines shall ensure that children upto the age of 12 years are allocated seats with one of their parents/guardians, who are travelling on the same PNR and a record of the same shall be maintained,” read the DGCA notification.

Currently, airlines charge anywhere between `300-600 from passengers to choose their preferred seat. People who don’t wish to pay for this service are given seats that were not pre-booked. As a result, people travelling in groups who haven’t paid for the seats are seated separately from each other. This also applies to children travelling with their parents.

Not only in India, travellers from across the world face this issue. Last year, US President Joe Biden-led administration asked Congress to pass legislation that would ban airlines from charging fees for families who are travelling with children under 14 to sit together.