Low-cost airlines Indigo and Spicejet have recently announced that they will be charging the customers fees for web check-in for all the seats. Earlier, passengers used to pay the premium seats, like aisle, additional legroom and window seats.
Following the outrage on social media, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, on Monday tweeted clarification that it will review such fees to see if it falls within the unbundled pricing framework.
MoCA has noted that airlines are now charging for web check-in for all seats. We are reviewing these fees to see whether they fall within the unbundled pricing framework.
— Ministry of Civil Aviation (@MoCA_GoI) November 26, 2018
As per July 2015 circular of the Civil Aviation [pdf], states that tariff should include all relevant factors including cost of operation, service, reasonable profit and generally prevailing tariff.
The circular states that sometimes, the passengers do not require many of such services offered by the airline and hence, they should be unbundled to make the fares more affortable. Such services, among others, include preferential seating, meals and additional baggage charges.
Earlier, airlines used to charge anything between Rs. 200 to Rs. 800 for preferential seats, leaving seats like the middle ones free. However, now all these seats are chargeable at web check-in. The check-in at the airport, where seats would be assigned as per availability, is free.