Monday, November 09, 2020

Angry flyers from Pune target travel agents for changes in airlines’ plans

Pune: A fortnight since Pune airport restricted flight operations between 8am and 8pm, travel agents have been dealing with angry and disgruntled flyers due to last minute changes in trip schedules and have even faced threats of having police complaints lodged against them.

“It is interpreted wrongly when an airline tells a passenger that the refund amount has been generated by them and the money will be refunded by agents, in case tickets have been booked by us for flyers. The fact remains that airlines’ don’t refund the amount in our bank accounts. They transfer it to shell accounts that can be redeemed by the flyers at a later date. Queries have poured in from flyers who booked tickets via us for future travels. Flyers have complained of a completely changed itinerary — direct flights changing to long haul connecting flights, a flight getting cancelled with information reaching flyers at the last moment or the airline changing the flight dates even. We are facing a backlash and plan to approach the civil aviation ministry,” Nilesh Bhansali, the director of Travel Agents Association of Pune (TAAP), told TOI.

The Pune airport authorities started the ‘Plan your Travel’ initiative on their official Twitter handle around five days ago where the authorities are uploading flight schedules (both departures and arrivals).

“The core issue remains unsolved. The schedule gets published only on the evening prior to the flight. The main issue is that airlines and travel portals are still accepting bookings for late evening and night flights but flyers are being intimated about changes only at the last moment.” Akhil Kumar, a regular flyer, who is presently taking his flights from Mumbai, told TOI.

09/11/20 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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