Sunday, May 02, 2021

Book tickets when other countries resume travel from India; else face long wait for refunds like last year

New Delhi: The issue of refunds for flights cancelled last year was yet to be settled when a sense of deja vu has again begun to grip passengers. United Arab Emirates (UAE) had last Thursday barred entry of travellers from India, with a few exceptions, from April 25 to May 4. Anticipating flights will resume from May 5, a large number of people in India booked tickets to be back there at the earliest for the fear of getting stranded in India. Then a week later when UAE extended this restriction till May 14, leaving many with tickets of flights that they will now not be able to board. Airlines are offering rescheduling to affected passengers.

UAE is just one example. Almost 20 countries have imposed restrictions on travellers from India like suspending flights or imposing stricter entry norms. Industry insiders say in such a situation people who have to go there should book tickets only when travel to their destination country resumes.

While it seems a repeat of 2020, the situation is very different from 2020 in one big way. Same time last year, the west was facing a bad Covid situation while India was relatively safer with very few cases and Indians wanted to fly here to safety. This time India is the worst Covid hotspot globally as of now and there is a scramble to go from here, explaining the rush on flights out of the country. Also, 2020 saw a majority of round issues for cancelled domestic flights while this time flights within the country are on.

“Don’t estimate that since a country has announced flight suspension till a certain date, connectivity will resume after that and book tickets accordingly. It is better to wait for a formal announcement from countries that travel from India has resumed or will do so from a certain date and then book tickets closer to the date of travel,” said a senior airline official.

02/05/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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