For unaccompanied children traveling to and from Dubai Airports, India’s national budget carrier has implemented new rules and additional charges over and above the ticket cost.
Now, parents sending unaccompanied children on Air India Express have to cough up a total of Dh 300 for a return trip when an additional Dh 165 for a one-way trip for each child. The new cost was implemented after Dubai Airport’s ground handling agency dnata’s decided to levy the new charges towards the handling of unaccompanied kids travelling to and from Dubai.
According to a circular issued by the Air India Express distributed to travel agents in the UAE, with immediate effect the announcement was made on December 4th.
The service to subject to the commercial agreement between the company and the airline company, the individual airline determines how fares are structured and payment is collected from the passengers, according to an official statement issued by dnata upon Khaleej Times’ request, the ground handling agency.
Air India Express tickets for unaccompanied minors can be only be booked only from the city/ airport office and not through travel agents or the Air India Express Website, causing further inconvenience to the parents. The decision was made with the intention to provide optimum security to the unaccompanied minor and avoid cases of child trafficking, for example said Senior airline official.
“dnata provides a full range of quality and reliable ground and passenger handling services, including the handling of unaccompanied minor passengers, to airlines operating from the two Dubai airports,” the spokesperson from dnata added.
“The pricing of dnata’s services is subject to the commercial agreement between the company and the airline customers and fixed in the service contract. The contract terms are confidential between the parties. It is up to the individual airline to determine how fares are structured and payment is collected from the passengers. Passengers should check their airline’s website for further details pertaining to the carriage of unaccompanied minors.”
PG Prageesh, chief of corporate communications of AIE in India said, “The charge has been levied by the ground handling agency and we are just passing on the costs to the passenger. When it comes to handling of unaccompanied minors, there are several resources the ground handling agency needs to put in place to assure the safety of the passenger,” he added.
The charge will be refundable in nature and there will be no changes in the reservation process for the booking of unaccompanied minors, said the airline official.