Customers who booked their air tickets in the first phase of the lockdown to get a full refund.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation announced a full refund instead of a credit shell for the flight bookings between March 25 and April 14. The order came out in view of the people demanding a full refund instead of credit shell for their flight bookings during this period.
Government of India announced a lockdown from March 25 to April 14 as a measure to fight COVID-19. The operation of domestic flights was stalled till April 14, 2020. Towards the end of this period, airlines opened bookings and stranded people all over the country could not resist booking flights in spite of the looming possibility of a lockdown extension. On April 14, the Indian Government announced extension of the lockdown up to May 3, thereby causing the booked flight tickets to turn invalid.
Shambhu Prasad, resident of Howrah, West Bengal had his tickets booked in Spicejet, from Kolkata to Bangalore for May 1. “During the lockdown we are already short of cash. If the airlines do not give a full amount in our bank accounts it will affect us. We would want a full refund instead of offering the credit shell, we did not sign up for this,” he said.
Meanwhile various airlines denied a complete refund. The airlines are likely to face losses worth $3 billion to $3.6 billion in the June quarter due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Spice jet, in a news report said, “We are cancelling the reservation of those who booked tickets for travel till May 3, 2020. Upon cancellation your entire amount will be maintained in credit shell and the same may be used for fresh bookings and travel till February 28, 2021, for the same passenger.”
People frantically responded to this and demanded a full refund instead of a credit shell.
International passengers have also been facing the music of international airlines.
The Civil Aviation Ministry on Wednesday held a video conference with the CEOs of private airlines to come to a conclusion on this front.
The anxious customers let a sigh of relief following the announcement by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Image Courtesy: Mohit Sukhtankar