Mumbai: With the nationwide lockdown extended till May 3, domestic airlines have again decided not to refund customers in cash for their cancelled flights and instead have offered them rescheduling of tickets for a later date without any additional fee.
India had imposed a 21-day lockdown from March 25 to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, all domestic and international commercial passenger flights were suspended for this time period.
However, most of the airlines had been taking bookings except national carrier Air India for domestic flights for the period beyond April 14.
Aviation consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) India said the civil aviation ministry should instruct airlines to "halt unfair practice of taking advance bookings until resumption is certain and an interim transition schedule has been established".
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of lockdown till May 3, aviation regulator DGCA issued a circular stating all international as well as domestic flights will remain suspended during the lockdown.
"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 said in a statement.
The customer, however, will have to pay the fare difference, if any, at the time of rebooking, the airline said.
A GoAir spokesperson said that it has already "factored in" these type of scenario and that the airline will review its earlier scheme of providing rescheduling free of cost at a later date while protecting their existing bookings for one year.
The airline also said it is extending its 'Protect Your PNR' scheme till May 3, 2020 wherein customers are eligible to reschedule their flight by May 3, 2021.
With the lockdown extended till May 3, passengers who have purchased tickets for the April 15 to May 3 would "once again only be offered credit for future travel, rather than a refund," it said.
Within hours of the government extending lockdown to May 3, budget carrier IndiGo announced resumption of flight services though in a phased manner from May 4.
Announcing that all its flights are cancelled till May 3, IndiGo said, it is 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."
Gurugram-based 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.