Only July 7 the Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to reply to a plea seeking airlines to refund the full amount of tickets for the flights cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan issued notices to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and DGCA asking for their responses on the same. Many airlines, which have failed to refund the ticket amounts have created a ‘credit shell’ with the cancelled amount, that the passengers can use on a later date. However, most customers are not happy with this mechanism.
Not Refunding The Cancelled Ticket Amount Is A Violation Of The Civil Aviation Requirements: APAI
The Air Passengers Association of India (APAI) has filed a plea, stating that the refusal to refund the cancelled amount is a clear violation of the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). It also added 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 during the lockdown. It said that a customer might need the money lying in ‘credit shell’ for urgent requirements, in these trying times.
Refund Of Tickets Booked In Advance For The Lockdown Period
The fresh petitions claimed that the April 16 office missive directed airlines to give the full refund only to the passengers who had booked tickets during lockdown; the order left out the people who booked tickets before lockdown for the same period. As per the plea, this blatantly violates the fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution. Many infuriated passengers gathered outside major airports complaining about last-minute flight cancellations with no confirmed rescheduling. Most of them demanded refunds of the cancelled amounts.
All flights remained suspended in India from March 25 due to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Domestic flights resumed operations at all major airports, except Kolkata airport, on May 25. The start date of operations in Kolkata had to be deferred by three days owing to restoration work after the city was massively hit by the cyclone Amphan. On that note, here’s a peek into the new norms of flying with Vistara COO, Mr. Vinod Kannan: