Air India Express Doubles Charges for Unaccompanied Minors

A call center agent from the low-cost carrier confirmed that the charges for unaccompanied minors were revised two months ago. This clarification highlights that the increase in service charges for unaccompanied minors has been in effect for some time, leading to concerns and discussions among passengers who use this service for their children's travel.

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Air India Express hikes fees

Air India Express, a low-cost airline based in India, has increased its fares for carrying children who are not traveling with an adult. The minor service charges, which are collected independently from the purchase of a ticket, have increased by a factor of four, going from Rs5,000 (about Dh221) to Rs10,000 (approximately Dh442).

Service Charge Hike:

An employee working in the contact center for Air India Express acknowledged the rise in service charges and claimed that the fee for an unaccompanied youngster is now Dh450 for a one-way ticket. These prices were changed around two months ago.

Impact on Passengers:

The sudden hike in service charges has surprised and concerned passengers, including 10-year-old Indian child actor Izin Hash, who travels between India and the UAE unaccompanied occasionally. Izin Hash mentioned that the service charge for unaccompanied minors used to be Rs5,000 and has now doubled to Rs10,000. He also noted that the fare discount for children between the ages of 5 and 12 has been discontinued.

Historical Context:

Unaccompanied children flying on Air India Express to or from Dubai Airports in 2018 would be subject to new fees. There has apparently been a hike in these fees, as reported by the Indian media.

Age Criteria:

Air India's website states that children between the ages of 5 and 18 are considered unaccompanied minors in the United Arab Emirates, while children between the ages of 5 and 16 are included in the definition for the other Gulf nations.

Tata Group's Acquisition:

In 2021, the Tata Group acquired the state-owned Air India for approximately Rs180 billion (approximately Dh8.8 billion). This acquisition took place more than 65 years after the Tata Group sold Air India to the government. The airline, originally founded by the Tata Group in 1932, is currently undergoing various changes, including its merger with the Tata-owned airline group Vistara and the introduction of new uniforms.

The increase in service charges for unaccompanied minors has generated concern among passengers and sparked discussions about the impact of such changes on travelers, especially families with children traveling alone.

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