If you’ve been chasing airlines for a refund on the flight that never took off, the end of the struggle seems to be in sight. The government may ask carriers to issue a full refund immediately for all domestic and international tickets booked between 25 March and 3 May. This is one of the submissions made by India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, in response to a Public Interest Litigation that comes up for hearing this week in the Supreme Court.
As per the DGCA’s affidavit, the government has consulted major scheduled airlines and consumer bodies in India and drawn up a list of measures to help flyers. These and other measures are a way to keep airlines afloat while safeguarding the interests of passengers, the affidavit says. So, what’s in it for you?
If the tickets have been booked during the first lockdown period, that is 25 March, to 14 April, 2020 for the journeys to be undertaken in both first and second lockdown period that is from 25 March to 3 May, 2020, in all such cases, full refund shall be given by the airlines immediately. This, the government says, is because airlines were not supposed to book tickets during the first lockdown period. For all other cases, the airlines shall make all efforts to refund the amount to the passenger within 15 days, the affidavit says.
Credit from shells to be to transferable
- The government may also allow the airlines the option of placing the money in a credit shell in the name of the passenger—most airlines are already doing this.
- Money stored in the credit shell should be available for use on any sector. If the full amount is not utilised, airlines should refund the balance to the passenger.
- It should also be transferable: airlines should allow passengers to transfer it to any person.
- If the money in the credit shell is not used by the end of March 2021, airlines shall refund cash to the holder of the credit shell.
- The DGCA has also proposed a 0.5% interest, i.e. increase in the valuation of the credit shell if the money has not been used till 30 June, 2020. The value of the credit shell would increase by 0.75% if the credit remains untouched till 31 March, 2021.