oppn parties Airlines Must Make Full Refunds For Lockdown Cancellations

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court sentences Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu to one year rigorous imprisonment in the 1988 road rage case
  • Home Minister Amit Shah says rights should not be demanded before fulfilling responsibilities and that universities are no place to wage ideological battles
  • NIA court convicts JKLF chief Yasin Malik in terror funding case after he pleads guilty of all charges
  • A study backed by PM-EAC has recommended universal basic income and urban job guarantee and greater spend on social sector schemes
  • Supreme Court rules that the decisions of the GST Council are not binding on the Centre and the states, leaving the door open for states to levy further taxes
  • After sustained campaign by BJP MP Arjun Singh, the Centre today withdrew the jute price cap order, industry welcomes move
  • Akasa Air might postpone its July launch due to late arrival of aircrafts
  • Metro Cash & Carry decides to sell Indian operations. All major players, including Reliance retail and Amazon, are likely to bid
  • Local and global cues spook the markets on Friday - Sensex crashes 1416 points to 52792 and Nifty by 430 points to 15809
  • IPL: RCB crushes GT by 8 wickets as Virat Kohli returns to form with a well-made half century
  • Nikhat Zareen is world champion in flyweight category. Wins gold at Women's World Championships at Instanbul
  • Supreme Court uses its special powers under Article 124 to release A G Perarivalan, a Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict
  • Indrani Mukherjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, gets bail from Supreme Court after 6.5 years in jail
  • Hardik Patel quits Congress, says top leaders distracted by mobile phones and state leadership busy arranging 'chicken sandwiches' for them
  • Anil Baijal resigns as Lieutenant Governor of Delhi citing "personal reasons"
Nikhat Zareen is crowned world champion in the flyweight (52Kg) category at the Women's World Championships in Istanbul /////// Supreme Court sentences Navjot Singh Sidhu to rigorous imprisonment of one year in the road rage case /////// Sunil Jakhar, who quit the Congress a few days ago, joins the BJP
oppn parties
Airlines Must Make Full Refunds For Lockdown Cancellations

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2020-04-19 08:34:32

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

Due to the suspension of domestic and international air travel in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian aviation sector is going through troubled times. But that does not mean it has acquired the license to resort to unethical business practices. When the lockdown was first announced from March 24 to April 14, many people had booked tickets in advance for travel during the period. When the lockdown was extended until May 3, the number of such people increased. Ideally, the airlines should have given a full refund to pre-booked passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the lockdown.

But the airlines did not provide full refunds. Instead, they offered the flyers two choices. Either let the money remain with the airlines to be adjusted for any future travel or get refunds after deduction of standard cancellation charges, which in some sectors are more than the cost of the ticket. This is grossly unfair, unjust and unethical. The aviation ministry had to issue a circular asking the airlines to issue full refunds to passengers within three weeks if they applied for the same.

This whole issue of cancellation and refunds needs to be settled once and for all and this is the best time to do so. When people book a flight ticket, they are provided with a few options. They can opt to book a simple ticket where standard cancellation charges would apply for any refund in case of no show or cancellation on part of the customer. They can pay an additional charge and can opt for rescheduling their journey date. In that case, they cannot claim the full refund but only change the date. If the flight is cancelled by the airlines, the customer can either opt for taking another flight or claim a full refund. But what happens in cases where neither the customer nor the airlines are at fault? That has not been specified anywhere, leading to the current situation.

The aviation ministry is now said to be thinking of issuing guidelines for refunds. It is about time. The whole issue should be examined thoroughly and the matter should be resolved after considering the best practices being followed in the aviation sector worldwide. It is not proper to bind the customer with a credit voucher for future travel if he or she wishes to get his money back. They must be given full refunds if unforeseen circumstances result in the cancellation of the flight. The ministry has also rightly stopped the airlines from accepting fresh bookings after May 3 for both domestic and international travel until a final call is taken on the lockdown.