India Domestic Flights- new top 10 FAQs

Since India has allowed domestic flights since 25th May, below are some of the most common questions floating around in Social media. I am providing a quick reference so that all your questions will be answered in one spot.

Q1: Will I be quarantined? Home or Institutional?
Almost all states are enforcing home quarantine on domestic passengers, which is bearable as it doesn't cost money, you will be close to your family and can work/enjoy some freedom.

But what is worrying passengers more is the forced institutional quarantine. This costs money (2000-4000 Rs per day for 7-14 days + testing ext = 16 to 60k depending on category), you're confined to whatever options, facilities  & food given to you and you can't access your family. The need for institutional quarantine changes based on
- Which state you are landing
- From which state you are originating from
- Purpose (like Karnataka exempts short visit businessmen from quarantine if they have -ve certificate)
- Exemptions- Most states exempt pregnant women, elderly people, small kids etc from quarantine. Karnataka also exempted politicians after a minister was found skipping quarantine.

If you are flying from a high risk state to low risk state, expect more stringent rules. This Indian Express report has current quarantine rules, statewise but rules are dynamic, so keep checking once a day if you are planning to travel.

Q2: Do I need Pass?
Most states require you to register in their respective portals. Not aware of any passenger denied a pass to fly, but check destination state's rule in this regard. As of now you don't need any pass from transit state if you have connecting flight.

Q3: Is cabin baggage allowed?
Yes. One piece. Some airlines like Air Asia have reduced cabin baggage allowance from 7 KG to 5 KG

Q4: Do I get airport transportation?
You've to arrange your own transport to and from airport. Public transport is not available. Limited taxis will be available at destination airport to reach home but again if you are crossing a district/state border do check for pass requirements

Q5. What all should I carry?
Yes. Carry your own mask. Sanitizer will be available at airport, some airlines may give face shield. Some airports are also selling PPE kits.

Carry your own food. No food is being served on flight, airport food counters operating not guaranteed.

Most airports are introducing contactless boarding, assisted baggage drop etc.

Q6. Can everyone fly?
Passengers with following conditions can't fly

  • Arogya Sethu doesn't show green status
  • Those coming from containment zone
  • Having any covid symptoms like high temperature, cough etc
  • Senior citizens are recommended not to fly, but not aware of a ban
Q7. Will flights really operate? Can I book?
There's no way of being 100% sure. you've to take a chance. For less popular cities, airlines are reducing frequencies. For example, flight from Chennai to Mangaluru is being operated only twice a week while it was planned daily earlier. So there is a possibility that your flight will be cancelled for various reasons such as
- destination state not giving permission
- Not enough passengers
- Someone found Covid +ve on previous flight now crew had to be quarantine and airline is not able to operate the next flight right away

Be ready to be rebooked on next flight.

Q8. Is it safe to book for a future date- like late June?
No. It is a dynamic situation, no one knows what is next. For example will there be an extension of lockdown, will Govt as private airlines to stop flying if Covid cases go through the roof, will any airline go bankrupt in next few months, no one knows.

You book now, but say develop symptoms on the day of flying- refund process is not clear- you will mostly lose the booking amount as you will be treated as No show.

So advise is keep monitoring, if you really have to travel book some 3-4 days in advance once you are reasonably sure that you qualify to travel. 

Q9. How are the fares? Expensive?
Govt fixed an upper and lower cap on the airfare. After initial few days, fares now appear reasonable, closer to lower limit set by Govt. So overall fares are reasonable as of now.

Q10: Should I book a flight or if I wait till June bus n train will be available?
We don't know yet. Last news is that Railways is planning 200 trains a day from June- but more details are awaited. Similarly we don't know if lockdown will end completely on May 31st (unlikely) or will be extended again. So no one can give perfect answer right now. Use your best judgement.

If you really really have to travel and a flight is available- Book.
if it is not urgent, wait for some clarity on June 1st

Are there any other queries? Let me know. 

Don't miss the 10 point checklist here.

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