Travel Agents Looting Passengers By Charging Upto 30% Extra On Air Tickets; Govt Says Don’t Pay Extra
The air travel halted in March was resumed from May 6, under the Vande Bharat Mission launched by the Government to help stranded people reach their destinations which has been operated by Air India. Under the recent phases of the mission some private carriers have also operated a certain number of flights under this mission.
On July 29, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said, passengers booking tickets through travel agents on international flights operating under the Vande Bharat Mission must not pay more than the fares mentioned on Air India’s website.
Read on to find out more…
Govt Warns Passengers With The VBM Fares and Travel Agents!
In July, India has formed bilateral air bubbles with countries like the US, Germany and France that allows airlines of both the countries in an agreement to operate special international charter flights.
The MoCA took to Twitter to say, “Passengers booking tickets for #VBM flights through travel agents, may please note that they should not pay more than the fares mentioned on the Air India website. Passengers facing issues of overcharging by travel agents may write to [email protected].”
India resumed domestic passenger flights from May 25 wherein the airlines have been allowed to operate only a maximum of 45% of their normal domestic flights. However, the pent-up demand could be seen as the occupancy rate in Indian domestic flights has been around just 50-60% since the operations began.
Authorized Travel Agents Over-Charging the Passengers!
Even after 4 phases of the mission, many people remain stranded in other countries and foreigners in India.
Observing this growing demand, the travel agents are taking advantage of this opportunity.
Lakhpreet Singh, a Melbourne resident stuck in his hometown of Kapurthala when waiting to book tickets on Wednesday said that when Air India opened the bookings for the special flights from New Delhi to Adelaide set to fly out on August 3 and 6 the tickets disappeared within minutes.
He said, “I stayed on the website and checked in on the Air India app, but the tickets were gone, I believe even before they opened them for booking. The website said the tickets had been sold out.”
As it turns out, the majority of the tickets had been withheld by ‘travel agents’ who had been reportedly authorised by Air India to book and sell those tickets, leaving many passengers seeking alternatives to book a tickets.
Singh said, “I could either go to an agent or to the nearest Air India booking office. So, I am now travelling from Kapurthala to Jalandhar to book tickets from their booking office.”
He added, “I do not want to book through an agent because most of them in Punjab are charging way above the price stipulated by Air India. When I inquired from an agent last night, he demanded Rs 1,25,000 (AUD 2,333) for a ticket that is priced at Rs 90,800 (AUD 1,670).”
After receiving many such complaints from the oassengers, Air India tweeted, “ We understand that while making booking for flights under #VBM Phase 5, the flight availablity sometimes shows ‘SOLD OUT’. The system is dynamic & this issue, at times is due to technical challenges on account of very high number of hits.”
Yesterday, Air India again tweeted on this matter saying, “We request that before booking tickets for #VBM flights kindly check fares on https://bit.ly/309voT7 . If you face any issue on account of overcharging,please email us on [email protected] . We have also advised our Travel agents in this regard.”