Vistara has begun banning travelers who flout COVID-19 rules on its flights. The carrier reportedly put three passengers on its ‘no-fly list,’ banning them from flying with the airline for a certain time. Let’s find out more about India’s tightened punishments for those refusing to follow COVID-19 rules.
According to the Times of India, Indian airlines have begun taking action against passengers who refused to follow COVID-19 rules in March and April. The moves come after the High Court took action in March and directed airlines and aviation regulator DGCA to add strict punishments against those who fail to follow the rules.
Vistara has reportedly banned three passengers from flying with the airline under the new rules. While the time period is unknown, it can range from a few months to even permanently, depending on the severity of the violation. This new no-fly list seems to have come into action recently, following the court order.
India’s largest airline, IndiGo, has seen the most number of COVID-19 norm violations. It’s unclear how many passengers were banned and for how long due to the actions. This data is currently not available publicly. Other carriers like GoAir, SpiceJet, and Air India have not reported their actions either.
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While mask and other violations were becoming common in early 2021, the second wave seems to have lowered cases. One source said,
“People were and are very scared after the second wave erupted. There have been no reports on onboard violation of COVID-19 norms since late April.”
While it is sad that it has taken a devastating wave to ensure all passengers follow the rules, it will be a welcome change. Passengers traveling in the last year have reported several others not wearing masks, prompting crew to remind them quickly. Only if passengers do not follow mask rules after crew guidance is a report filed.
As passengers slowly begin returning to the skies, it will be important to monitor the number of complaints filed. Currently, passengers on all domestic flights must wear a mask (nose and mouth covered), face shields, and a PPE gown for those in middle seats. These are some of the strictest rules globally, where masks are the only requirement.
The last week has seen domestic traffic begin to bounce back after the second wave. Sunday saw over 132,000 passengers take to the skies, a high not seen since April. With domestic traffic on the climb, airlines will be trying to recover their losses and attract more passengers.
Airlines have been getting creative with incentives too. IndiGo became the first airline to offer a 10% discount for all vaccinated passengers (one or two doses) to increase traffic. As Indian aviation begins another recovery, there is hope that this one is more sustained as vaccine rollouts help slow cases.
What do you think about Vistara’s decision to ban travelers? Let us know in the comments!