Airlines Start Bookings From April 15th Onwards: Fares, Cancellation Fees & More
With the coronavirus lockdown, many people are stuck in different cities on business visits and looking forward to 15 April, when they will be free to book a flight to their home cities.
Basically, there are scores of others who are facing the same conundrum. But being cautious is a good thing.
What Is Advised?
While talking about the dilemma, CEO & Co-Founder, ixigo, Aloke Bajpai said “While we understand that some people may need to travel for critical reasons, we would recommend people to exercise caution and travel only when it is essential even after the lockdown ends,” said.
The Co-Founder and COO, Corporate Travel & Head Industry Relations, Yatra.com, Sabina Chopra said “We have already started seeing flight bookings picking up for travel starting April 15,”.
Further, Chopra pointed out “These individuals are mostly those wanting to go back to their hometown to meet their families or traveling for essential purposes such as medical or legal needs,”.
So far, all the other airlines have started accepting bookings, Apart from Air India, as per the reports.
Also, the national airline is accepting bookings only for travel starting May 1.
What Are The Plans?
Currently, not just the fliers, the airlines are also cautious about the operations.
If you have a cursory glance through the websites of IndiGo, Vistara, SpiceJet, GoAir, and TruJet, it shows that they are open for booking, but most of them have a lighter schedule.
For instance, the largest carrier, IndiGo, usually operates over 35 daily flights between Delhi and Mumbai. But for April 15, it has only 14.
The same is the case with Vistara and SpiceJet.
What About The Airfare?
Bajpai of ixigo said, “As far as the fare trend goes, if we compare fares from pre-COVID-19 periods, we don’t see much of a change in fares for the post lockdown period of 15th-30th April for key domestic sectors,”.
He added, “This is despite a decreased seating capacity on flights, which will continue to sell only the aisle and window seats post the lockdown to maintain social distancing by keeping the middle seat empty,”.
Currently, the one-way fares from Mumbai to Delhi, range from about Rs 4,500 to up to Rs 11,000 across airlines.
Why Is The Uncertainty?
So far, there is also the uncertainty around the flights, apart from the possible risk that a passenger exposes himself or herself to while traveling.
As there is no word yet if the lockdown will be completely lifted from April 15, or if it will be a phased one.
Which further puts a question mark on the flights.
The Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri himself clarified in his tweet on April 5, saying “News about the resumption of passenger flights in a staggered manner from April 15, is mere speculation. The correct position is spelled out in my tweet of 2nd April 2020,”.
Further, on April 2, he had said, “The current lockdown on both international and national passenger flights is till April 15. A decision to restart the flights after this period remains to be taken. If required, we will have to access the situation, on a case-by-case basis.”
That’s the reason, Chopra of Yatra.com said, “still a vast majority of the population are in a wait-and-watch period and refraining to travel as a precautionary measure.”
What About Cancellation Charges?
Consider the case where you have booked for April 15, but then airlines cancel the flights because the lockdown is either not lifted, or is lifted in phases?
So far, most airlines will have you covered, as they have assured bookings till April 30.
In case of cancellation, these bookings will be credited into the passenger’s account, and the amount can be used later.