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Ensure children below 12 are seated with their parents: DGCA to airlines

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New Delhi, April 23:  The aviation watchdog DGCA on Tuesday issued a circular asking all airlines to ensure children up to the age of 12 years are seated with their parents.

The DGCA has revised the Air Transport Circular (ATC)-01 of 2024, titled ‘Unbundle of Services and fees by scheduled airlines’, introducing several changes aimed at enhancing passenger experience and addressing concerns regarding seating arrangements, particularly for children.

Under the revised circular, airlines are now permitted to offer unbundled services such as zero baggage, preferential seating, meals/snacks/drink charges, and charges for the carriage of musical instruments.

These services will be provided on an “opt-in” basis, meaning passengers can choose whether or not to avail of them. Additionally, there is a provision for auto seat assignment for passengers who have not selected any seat during web check-in before the scheduled departure.

The decision to revise the circular comes in response to various instances brought to the notice of the DGCA, where children under the age of 12 were not seated alongside their parent or guardian during flights. In an effort to prevent such occurrences in the future and ensure the safety and well-being of young passengers, the DGCA has incorporated a new provision into the existing Air Transport Circular 01 of 2021.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation further said that 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 up to the age of 12 years are allocated seats with at least one of their parents/guardians, who are travelling on the same PNR and a record of the same shall be maintained,” said a senior DGCA official.

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