Monday, May 18, 2020

No refunds in sight for fliers even as flight-suspension now extended to May 31

As the wait for airlines continues before they can re-start operations, woes of passengers do not seem to end either. Meanwhile, the nationwide lockdown has been extended to May 31.

Moments after industry regulator DGCA tweeted on May 17 that domestic and international flights would continue to remain suspended till the end of the month, passengers took to the social media platform to ask for refunds.
Much to their despair, there was no respite. They were told yet again that, instead of refund, their tickets would be saved in a credit shell.

It is estimated that tickets, for both domestic and international travel, worth nearly Rs 4,000 crore are now stuck. Of this, up to Rs 100 crore are of tickets booked for travel between May 18-31 - during Lockdown 4.0.
The government, on May 17 - the last day of Lockdown 3.0, announced the extension and, at the same time, also included some relaxations. But, against the industry's hopes, flights remain grounded.

In the circular, the regulator informed that the suspension of all domestic and international scheduled commercial passenger flights were "further extended up to 11:59 pm on May 31".

"Foreign and domestic airlines shall be suitably informed about the opening of their operations whether international to or from India or domestic, respectively, in due course," it added

A passenger, tagging IndiGo, immediately asked for a refund. But, the airlines replied:

"Sir, as per the directives received, full refund is applicable only if the booking is made between 25th March- 14th April for travel during 25th Mar to 03rd May. For other reservations, we are creating a credit shell. Appreciate your understanding..."

The Lockdown 2.0 was announced from April 15 to May 03. Thereafter, it was extended to May 17.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, in a notice on April 16, asked the airlines to refund tickets that were booked during the first lockdown for travel from March 25 to May 03.
18/04/20 Prince Mathews Thomas/

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