Air Passengers Will Get 100% Refund For Air Tickets Booked During Lockdown (Dates Covered)
In early June, we brought an article to you which spoke about the national carrier Air India’s refund and re-routing policies.
In a similar move, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has informed the Supreme Court about refunds carried out to those fliers who booked their tickets between March 25 to May 3, 2020, during the lockdown period.
PIL Filed Against in the SC
An NGO, Pravasi Legal Cell filed a Public Interest Litigation against airlines, demanding a complete refund for bookings made during the lockdown period.
This led the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to file an affidavit and reform in the SC, in relations to the refunds and re-routing of tickets.
Airlines to Fully Refund the Fliers
The DGCA informed the SC that any bookings made during the period of March 25 to May 3, 2020, either in a domestic carrier or an international carrier for air travel, shall be fully refunded.
“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”.
The DGCA instructed all the airlines to make these refunds immediately, as the airlines were not supposed to book tickets during the first lockdown period.
DGCA Allows Passengers to Re-route Journeys
Along with providing complete refund on any such tickets, the DGCA has also given the option of:
- using this amount (booked for tickets during lockdown period) to credit on any other route (of choice), or
- To transfer the designated amount to anyone else.
“The passenger can transfer the credit shell to any person, and the airlines shall honor such a transfer. The airlines shall devise a mechanism to facilitate such a transfer. By the end of March 2021, the Airlines shall refund cash to the holder of the credit shell”.
Provision of Incentives
The DGCA said in its affidavit to the Supreme Court (all in quotes):
- There shall be an incentive mechanism to compensate the passenger, in case of a delay in refunding the credit shell,
- This duration shall be from the date of cancellation up to 30th June 2020.
- The value of credit shell shall be enhanced by 0.5% of the face value (the amount of fare collected) for every month, or
- part thereof between the date of cancellation and 30th June 2020.
- After this, the value of credit shell shall be enhanced by 0.75% of the face value per month, up to March 2021.