Full Refund To Be Given For Air Tickets Booked Between March 25 And May 3

by Suchismita Pal
Full Refund To Be Given For Air Tickets Booked Between March 25 And May 3

Many people stranded in different parts of India had booked tickets amid lockdown hoping that the flights would resume services. However, flight operations in the country continued to get cancelled until the middle of Lockdown 3.0. The airlines issued credit shells to the customers with the cancelled fares, requesting them to redeem the amounts while booking future flights. The Centre had instructed in July that airlines must give full refunds of the cancelled flights to the customers. However, the airline companies still not refund the ticket amounts of several passengers. On September 6, the Supreme Court again put forward an order stating that the airlines must ‘fully refund’  tickets booked between March 25 and May 3, 2020.

Supreme Court Instructs Airlines To Fully Refund Tickets Booked Between March 25 And May 3

According to reports,  Directorate General of Civil Aviation told Supreme Court,” Non-refund of air tickets booked during lockdown and creation of involuntary credit shell by airlines is a violation of Civil Aviation Requirements and provisions of the Aircraft Rules of 1937.” Most airlines created the credit shells as they were unable to refund the ticket amounts to the passengers after facing mammoth losses during the lockdown. There were no incoming funds. On the other hand, amounts to be replayed to the customers were huge.

Full Refund Air tickets
Picture Credits: Swarajya

To avoid going absolutely bankrupt, most Indian carriers had planned to convert the refund amounts into a pre-paid voucher. They requested the customers to use it for flying on a future date.  Many customers objected this decision of the airlines and wanted their money back. Therefore, the Supreme Court has issued a fresh statement, instructing the airlines to provide full refunds for flights booked between March 25 and May 3.

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Credit Shell Acceptance Must Be The Sole Decision Of Passengers: APAI

Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) had filed a plea, stating that the acceptance of ‘credit shell’ should be the sole decision of the passengers. The plea also said that the money in the ‘credit shell’ may not be of any use to the passenger who had a specific reason for booking the tickets. It said that a customer might need the money lying in ‘credit shell’ for urgent requirements, in these trying times.

Full Refund Air tickets
Picture Credits: Vistara

Also Read: 100 Days Of Domestic Flight Operations; These Airports Saw The Maximum Passengers

Domestic airlines remained suspended in India from March 25 to May 24, 2020. The entire travel industry, especially, aviation faced a major blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Various industry experts have classified this period and its impact on the industry as more damaging than the 9/11 attacks. Many are jobless and there are exponential amounts of salary cuts and per day losses. According to an assessment of ICRA, a banking and credit rating agency, post-lockdown, the aviation sector had been losing almost ₹75 – ₹90 crores on a daily basis. Here’s what Vistara COO Vinod Kannan has to say about air travel during the coronavirus pandemic: