Aviation Ministry Meets With Airlines’ CEOs To Discuss Refund Discrepancies Of Bookings Cancelled After Lockdown Extension

Aviation Ministry Meets With Airlines’ CEOs To Discuss Refund Discrepancies Of  Bookings Cancelled After Lockdown ExtensionThe picture featuring planes of various airlines parked at the IGI airport. (Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images)

The union government is going to form guidelines in order to help air passengers with their bookings, cancellations, and refund discrepancies amid the Coronavirus crisis and nationwide lockdown, news agency ANI tweeted.

According to ANI, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had summoned the chief executive officers (CEOs) of all private airlines on Wednesday (15 April) regarding advance ticket bookings even when the lockdown was in place and the refund policy for those tickets. The meeting was held through video-conferencing and was attended by senior ministry officials.

Domestic airlines, except government’s Air India, in the country had been accepting flight bookings for the dates after 14 April, the last day of the phase 1 lockdown.

However, after the announcement of lockdown extension till 3 May and the suspension of flight operations with it, they decided against refunding the amounts to customers in cash for their cancelled flights. They, instead, offered them to reschedule their flights without any rescheduling fee.

“We are in the process of cancelling the affected bookings and we will offer customers free of charge rescheduling to another date until December 31, 2020,” a Vistara spokesperson had told PTI in statement.

“The customer, however, will have to pay the fare difference, if any, at the time of rebooking,” the airline said.

IndiGo, while announcing that all its flights are cancelled till 3 May, said, it was in the process of cancelling the reservations. "Your ticket amount is protected in the form of credit shell in the PNR, which can be utilised within one year of the issued date."

SpiceJet also said the amount from the cancelled ticket will be maintained in a credit shell.

"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," it said.

Any resolution from the meeting is yet to be reported.

However, apart from the booking and the refund issues, the plan for operations after the lockdown is lifted was also discussed.