With the 21-day Coronavirus lockdown coming into effect in India, all trains and flights have been halted for the period. Due to the domestic flight cancellation, several passengers who had booked tickets and were due to travel during the period were understandably in a panic situation as no clear picture was available as to what happens to their tickets.
Some of the travelers even wrote to DataQuest, about the unpleasant experiences they were having during the unprecedented situation. “Customers should get a full refund if any airline cancels their flights and should not be compelled to reschedule their flights. DGCA and civil aviation ministry should intervene and give directives to all airlines without any delay,” says TR Sundaram, who echoes the thoughts of hundreds of other passengers who wrote to the portal.
However, most Airline companies in India are now reverting to their customers saying that their tickets were safe with the airlines and a full refund would be credited to customers’ accounts, which can be used to reschedule flights after the lockdown is lifted.
What Airline Companies in India are Offering due to Domestic Flight Cancellation
Air Asia: Air Asia is providing its customers with a credit account for direct bookings or unlimited date change. The date change period has been extended as well and is now applicable for all existing bookings for travel between 23 March and 31 May 2020. Customers can directly go to the Air Asia website to convert their booked flights into their Big Member credit account.
IndiGo: IndiGo is offering full credit for all new and existing bookings up to 30 April 2020. Another booking can be made with the credit amount for the same passenger using the same channel for flights until 30 September 2020.
GoAir: GoAir says that they are protecting their customers’ PNR for one year. The company says that there was “no need for the passenger to call GoAir or their travel agent prior to departure. Passengers could simply not show up for their flight, and still, all tickets would be protected and passengers can reschedule their travel without any fees for up to one year from the original date of travel. The new ticket will be issued for the same passenger name for any GoAir flight (not necessarily the original sector the passenger booked their ticket on) without any rescheduling fee. Fare differential, if applicable, would be applied.
Vistara: Vistara is offering customers who have made their bookings on or before 31 March 2020 for travel up to 30 April 2020 the flexibility of picking an alternate date of travel up to 31 December 2020 without any change fee. The company says the PNRs of customers have been automatically extended until 31 December 2020 and would remain valid in their systems.
Air India: Air India also is protecting the tickets of its passengers. “If you are holding a ticket for a flight operating between 23rd March 2020 to 30thApril20 20 and you do not wish to travel; you need not visit or call Air India, or your travel agent. You don’t even have to report to the airport, for rescheduling your flight till normalcy of operations is restored. Air India will waive No-Show charges i.e. your ticket will be protected at full value. As and when you finalise the date of your travel (up to 30th September2020), you can reschedule your travel without paying any date change or sector change fee for your travel,” says Air India on its website.
SpiceJet: SpiceJet is giving its customers a credit shell amount, which can be used to reschedule the flight on a later date. “The entire amount of your booking will be maintained in a credit shell, which can be used to make a fresh booking for travel till 28th Feb.’21 for the same passenger on http://spicejet.com. At end of the booking process, please make payment using the CREDIT SHELL option,” says SpiceJet.
This option would be made available on the SpiceJet website from 1 April 2020 onwards. SpiceJet call centre is currently not and will be closed until the nation-wide lockdown is called off. Customers, however, have the option to write to firstname.lastname@example.org regarding their issues.