Thursday, October 07, 2021

Forced to replan trips, flyers miffed over airport closure

Pune: The news about suspension of all flights from the city airport for 14 days from October 16 came as a shock to Shivajinagar resident Ravindra Jog, who had booked three tickets early last month for a trip to Jaipur from October 18.

“I called my travel agent, who said the airline was ready to give a full refund if I cancelled the trip. I had to book fresh tickets for the trip from Mumbai, which cost me Rs37,500 as against the earlier cost of Rs18,000. I cannot cancel the trip, as I have paid a non-refundable hotel tariff in advance,” Jog told TOI.

Like Jog, several other flyers have been forced to redraw their travel plan, incur fresh and higher expenses to go ahead with the plan and wonder why there could not have been a more advance notice about the precise closure dates. The airport would remain closed for all flight operations till 29 to facilitate the runway re-carpeting work.

Travel agents are in a fix, as the closure comes at a time when the festive season has started to peak. “A client, who was to go to Srinagar on October 17, had booked his tickets a month ago for Rs5,500. Now, he has to pay Rs25,000 for the same from Mumbai. Another client, who was to go to Coorg on October 18, cancelled his trip. We will face heavy losses,” Nilesh Bhansali, director of the Travel Agents Association of Pune, told TOI.

Flyers who have booked flight tickets from travel websites are hassled even more. “I can’t get through to their call centre executives. Last evening, I was on hold for 45 minutes. My emails and tweets were not replied,” said Sameer Doshi, who had a flight booked for Kolkata on October 19.

07/10/21 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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